Defence Ministry places 10 lakh hand grenades order with private sector for the first time

Published: October 2, 2020

On October 1, 2020, the Defence Ministry placed orders with a private firm for the first time. The order has been placed for the supply of 10 lakh hand grenades. These grenades will replace the vintage design grenades that are in use. So far, these products were either imported or made by the Ordnance factories.

Highlights

The contract was placed with Economic Explosive Limited. The company will supply the modern hand grenades in two years. The purchase is to be made at Rs 400 crores. This is the first time Indian Defence System is placing orders with a domestic manufacturer. Also, this is the first time a private company will supply the armed forces a completely built ammunition.

The cost of the grenades is less as compared to the manufacturing cost of OFB.

Background

The Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO) had transferred the technology of grenade manufacturing to the company in 2016.

Significance

The move will help India achieve self-reliance in defence sector. India is currently the second largest importer of arms in the world. India ranked 23rd in the exporter list. The biggest suppliers of India in descending order are Russia, Israel, France and US.

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India is the fifth largest defence spender in the world after US, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

What are the operational hollowness in Indian Defence System?

  • Poor and long-term planning, little technology transfers in spite of mega deals and haphazard procurement
  • There are critical gaps in army in infantry weapons, artillery, light helicopters and nigh fighters.
  • The Indian Air Force does not have enough mid-air refuelers, fighter jets, AWACS and drones
  • The Indian Navy is short of minesweepers, multi role helicopters
  • The bulk of defence expenditure is consumed by maintenance of 15 lakh armed forces pay and pensions.

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