India’s defence acquisition council (DAC), the government’s top weapons procurement body, on Tuesday cleared military proposals worth ₹8,357 crore, including a military satellite, to sharpen the operational capabilities of armed forces, officials familiar with the development said.

The hardware will be sourced indigenously, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The DAC, headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh, accorded its acceptance of necessity (AoN) for equipment including the GSAT-7B satellite for the army, air defence fire control radars, light vehicles and image intensifiers, the officials said. Under India’s defence procurement rules, AoN by the council is the first step towards buying military hardware.

“Acquisition of these equipment and systems will enhance operational preparedness of armed forces by providing better visibility, enhanced mobility, improved communication and increased capability of detecting enemy aircraft,” the statement said.

The GSAT-7 series of advanced satellites built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are designed to provide communication capabilities to users over vast expanses including oceans. The navy has its own GSAT-7 satellite.

Last November, DAC gave its go-ahead to a ₹2,236-crore proposal by the Indian Air Force to buy GSAT-7C satellite and ground hubs for improved real-time communication.

On Tuesday, the council also cleared procurement of 14 defence items worth over ₹380 crore from start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

India has earmarked 68% of the military’s capital budget for local procurement this year and the approvals are in line with strengthening the indigenous defence sector, said Air Marshal Anil Chopra (Retd), director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.

“The need for indigenisation is being felt like never before on the back of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, which could disrupt supply chains and have a bearing on India’s defence needs,” he added.

The complications stemming from the wide-ranging sanctions slapped on Russia by the US and its allies could pose a unique set of challenges for the India-Russia defence relationship, put India’s military preparedness to the test and assign new urgency to reduce dependence on imported military hardware to stay battle-ready, as previously reported by HT.

The global backlash against Russia has raised questions about the fate of new projects, spares procurement for existing Russian-origin weapons, maintenance and servicing of legacy equipment and creating an alternative payment system for defence trade with Russia amid the banking sanctions.

The government is encouraging self-reliance is the defence sector through several policy decisions including increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) limit from 49% to 74%, notifying 209 defence items that cannot be imported and creating a separate budget for buying locally-made military hardware.