NEW DELHI (Monitoring Desk): Continuing with its hegemonic designs in the region, India has approved the procurement of military equipment and weapons worth Rs 28,000 crore. The procurement proposals for military equipment which includes swarm drones, carbines and bulletproof jackets were cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. “The Acceptance of Necessity [AoN] for capital acquisition proposals of the armed forces amounting to Rs 28,732 crore were accorded by the DAC,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The approval to the new procurement proposals came amid over two-year-long border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh. The Indian ministry said approval to procure four lakh close quarter battle carbines was granted to combat the “current complex paradigm of conventional and hybrid warfare”. This is set to provide a major impetus to the small arms manufacturing industry in India and enhancing self-reliance in small arms, the ministry claimed in the statement.
Meanwhile, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has commenced flight trials of the next version of fighter jets Tejas Mark 1A. Indian media quoting sources reported that flight-test has started as per schedule. In February last year, the Indian Ministry of Defence had signed a contract with the HAL for the supply of 83 jets at a cost of Rs 45,696 crore. Tejas MK 1A will have 43 improvements over the existing version. Most of the changes are related to avionics, weapons and maintenance. In all, 40 Tejas jets of this variant have already been manufactured. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will receive Tejas Mark 1A jets by February 2024. The Ministry of Defence has set a target of making 83 planes by February 2030.
Meanwhile, a journalist from Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir has been barred by Indian officials from travelling to Sri Lanka without giving any reason for the action. According to Kashmir Media Service, the journalist Aakash Hassan said that Immigration officials at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport barred him from boarding a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Aakash wrote on his Twitter handle, “I was headed to report on the current crises in the country [Sri Lanka]. The immigration officials took my passport, boarding pass and made me sit in a room for four hours”. He added that after making him wait for hours, the officials handed over his passport and boarding pass to him with a red rejection stamp: ‘Cancelled Without Prejudice’. He pointed out that the officials didn’t give any reason for why he was not allowed. A staff from the airlines he was travelling in told him that officials had directed them to offload his luggage from the aircraft, he said, adding he was questioned by two officials about his background and travel purpose.
Earlier this month, Kashmiri photojournalist, Sanna Irshad Mattoo, was denied permission to travel to Paris to attend a scheduled photography exhibition. In a tweet, Sanna Mattoo, had said, “I was scheduled to travel from Delhi to Paris for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of 10 award winners of the Serendipity Arles grant 2020. Despite procuring a French visa, I was stopped at the immigration desk at Delhi airport.”
“I was not given any reason but told I would not be able to travel internationally,” she had added.
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