Rather than getting caught in the laborious defence acquisition process, the armed forces are using the financial powers of vice-chiefs to lease out critical weapon platforms from strategic allies like the United Sstates, France and Russia.
The vice-chiefs have the power to purchase ₹300 crore worth of equipment as part of capital purchases as well as half of ₹500 crore can be used for emergency requirements for the service but outside capital outlay.
According to South Block officials, the leasing of two Predator unmanned aerial vehicles from the US, a nuclear power submarine Akula class to replace the presently leased INS Chakra from Russia, and the proposal to lease a Airbus 330 multi-role transport tanker from France are examples in this direction.
While the leasing process allows the armed forces to train on a platform that it plans to acquire, it also short-circuits the labyrinth of acquisition process like acceptance of necessity, request for information, request for proposal, defence acquisition committee, finance ministry approvals and finally the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS).
Faced with a northern neighbour who is constantly inducting stand-off weapon systems like weaponized drones, nuclear powered submarines, fifth generation aircraft and large warships, the leasing system at least allows the Indian armed forces to be prepared for future wars.
“The leasing of two Predator drones from US allows India to train and be prepared to induct 10 such drones in each of the three services.