It was announced on Thursday, September 5, that the Union Government had cleared the purchase of six squadrons of the Akash air defence missile systems worth Rs 5,000 crore. Indigenously manufactured, they have the capability to intercept enemy aircraft at a distance of up to 30 kilometres. The deployment of these systems will be done on the Pakistan and China borders. According to government sources, the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared this project for the Air Force. The Defence Ministry officially communicated this decision to the Air Force on Thursday.
The proposal to acquire these systems was formulated three years ago. This procurement would increase the number of Akash missile systems to 15. Sources further confirm that the Armed Forces had fully accepted this indigenous missile system. This is indicated from the fact that the initial order was placed for only two squadrons. In the past, the Government had cancelled an Army tender worth Rs 17,000 crore to favour the Akash missile system.
The Akash missile system was officially inducted into the Indian Air Force in July 2015. During an exercise held in 2018, it was judged as the best performer after testing it with all other missile systems, including Israeli ones. Pakistan's counter-attack after India's airstrikes in Balakot convinced the Indian government of the need to acquire more advanced weapons. The latest move by the Centre ensures that India's air defence fighters would be bolstered by ground-based missiles in case any enemy decides to launch an attack on the country.
(With ANI inputs)