Desi move: Purchase only Indian weapons, forces told

New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah has played another Desi gamble, ordering the central para-military forces and central police organisations to go for purchase of arms and ammunitions from the Indian firms, besides the procurement from the State-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). He wants to put a total ban on their procurement from abroad.

Sources said the Home Ministry is in the process of floating the tenders for the purpose after interacting with at least 17 private firms having the requisite licenses through video conferencing. The purchases from these companies, shortlisted from some 40 companies, will include missiles, rockets, torpedoes, artillery guns, besides the rifles and ammunitions.

The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) or the para-military forces have the combined manpower strength of 10 lakh, including National Security Guards (NSG), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), and Assam Rifles.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has not yet sent a new list of the foreign-produced items to be barred from sale from the CAPF canteens across the country since after a goof-up and withdrawal of the first list on June 1. The only action taken so far is to remove DIG rank officer RM Meena, who had issued the earlier order in his rightful capacity as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kendriya Police Kalyan Bhandars (KPKB), the parent body that runs the CAPF canteens, and replace him with a new officer temporarily.

No action could be taken against Meena since he had stated in the scrapped order that some of the suppliers did not authenticate the products they were supplying to the para-military canteens as "Indian" that may have been put on the banned list. He had also mentioned that the list was drawn up on the basis of the information provided by the suppliers and "the onus to prove the information as correct will be on the respective firms."

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