China threat – India extends Emergency Powers to the three services for the third time

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Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal is a Defence and Aerospace Journalist with his articles/works on various digital and print media platforms. He is an Anchor/Host and Correspondent associated with several News Media Organizations. He is responsible for Digital Media and Defense reporting at Frontier India. *Views are personal

According to official reports, for urgent revenue procurements along with the works amid continuing tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the emergency powers accorded to the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) has once again been extended by the Defence Ministry even as the ministry emphasised strengthening the existing rules of procurement.  

The emergency powers for the purpose of revenue procurements through the fast-track process have been extended for around three more months till December 31, as per the defence sources. Since the previous year, this is the third extension of emergency powers granted for revenue procurements while in the last year they were first extended till March from December and were once again extended till August this year, as said by defence sources.

On the other hand for capital procurements, no extension was granted to the emergency powers which had been accorded to the 3 services.

Strengthening process

Instead of frequently bringing in emergency powers for the purpose of urgent procurements, under the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) for capital procurement along with the Defence Procurement Manual for revenue procurements, the need to strengthen the existing procurement process under the above-cited DAP has also been stressed by the Ministry according to a top defence source.

Fine-tuning of all rules for capital and revenue procurement has been sought by the Defence Minister of India as per the above-cited source.

Along with being integrated Defence Staff schedule of powers under the revised Delegation of Financial Powers to Defence Services (DFPDS-2021) the emergency revenue procurement powers were been delegated under the respective Air Force, Navy and the Army unveiled by the Defence Minister of India in September this year.

Emergency powers for the objective of procuring stores, vehicles, ammunition and specialised services as well as machinery and equipment of up to ₹500 crores for different operations and exercises will be provided by this to the vice chief of the three services along with the chief of the Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee (CISC).

Faster procurement 

According to a source, in order to maintain the assets which are deployed in the forward locations, faster procurement of spares and various other items required shall be aided by the emergency powers that will cut short the long procurement process. That’s said the delivery period for such above-cited procurements shall be within a year from the date of signing the contract.

The equipment along with their quantities that are to be procured under these powers based on operational requirements shall be authorised by the service chiefs or the CISC, as said by a senior defence official. Besides helping in fast assigning of the contracts that are in the advanced stages of procurements, the services shall be helped by these powers in meeting the critical capability voids which are essential in the backdrop of tensions with China, the official further added.

Along with the details of the contracts signed and the deliveries received, a list of items which is sought by the service headquarters for procuring under these powers is asked to be provided by the headquarters to the Department of Military Affairs, as said by a second defence official.

Purchase of ammunition and spares in order to keep these assets running are included in revenue procurement while on the other hand, purchase of capital assets, weapon systems or weapons along with other critical equipment is what the capital procurement refers to.

Ready preparedness 

After the Galwan Valley clashes that occurred in the previous year, emergency capital procurement powers have been given for the first time to the three services for the procurement of up to ₹300 crores by the defence ministry even as the emergency powers for the revenue procurements were been granted to them after the Uri surgical strike in 2016 followed by the balakot airstrike in February 2019.

Under the emergency powers, a number of other essential items along with spares have been bought, much of it for the construction of Habitat, bridges and roads in Eastern Ladakh according to a source.

Among the capital procurements which were made using emergency powers, another set of highly Agile and Manoeuvrable ammunition extended range (HAMMER) air to ground Precision guided weapon systems for Rafale fighter jets and anti Drone systems are featured in the same.

Among other major capital purchases which were initiated a set of Israeli SPICE bombs, T 72 and T90 Main Battle Tanks man-portable air defence system and Heron drones were also included.

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