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India to follow new policy of staggered procurement in major military purchases

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NEW DELHI (PTI): A new policy of staggered procurement of major military platforms including for 114 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force will be adopted to address the problem of obsolescence and encourage the domestic defence industry, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat has said.

He said  on Monday going for mega deals at one go may make the platforms redundant after a period of time as technology is advancing at a rapid pace.

When asked whether the government will follow the new model of staggered procurement for IAF's proposal to buy 114 aircraft, Gen Rawat said, "Yes. It will be under the new framework."

The chief of defence staff said government is adopting the new approach to encourage the domestic defence industry as total reliance on import will not serve the Make in India initiative.

"I think we should go for staggered approach of placing orders for big-ticket purchases. If we are buying 100 aircraft, then it should be in four packages of 25 aircraft each," he said.

"That is why we ordered only 36 Rafale aircraft," Gen Rawat said without clarifying whether the government will go for procuring more Rafale jets from France.

In April last year, the IAF issued an RFI (request for information) or initial tender to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around USD 18 billion, which is billed as one of the world's biggest military procurement in recent years.

The top contenders for the deal include Lockheed's F-21, Boeing's F/A-18, Dassault Aviation's Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian aircraft MiG 35 and Saab's Gripen.

The chief of defence staff, who has been tasked to prioritise military procurement, said utility and a futuristic approach will be major factors in deciding big-ticket purchases.

The government appointed Gen Rawat as CDS on December 31 to bring in convergence among the three services and restructure military commands to effectively deal with future security challenges.

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