Even when the Indian Army is evaluating different missile systems of various global vendors as part of a deal that is expected to be worth more than 12,000 crore rupees, the Defence Ministry is inclined towards indigenous development of similar short-range air defense systems as part of the Make in India scheme. After the discussions in a high level meeting by military and government officials, a proposal was made that the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) should take initiatives to develop the Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORAD) inside the country itself.
This decision is being made at a time when three foreign vendors, France, Sweden, and Russia, have already fielded their missile systems for the procurement by the Indian Army to replace the old IGLA shoulder-fired air defense systems. The plan by the government to indigenously develop the system, which can strike targets that are at a range of six or seven kilometers, is considered as the government has introduced a missile policy stating that the nation should become self-reliant in the areas of missile systems by the end of 2022.
Recently, the government has moved real fast in favor indigenous missile systems over that are procured from the various foreign vendors, as they have decided to opt for the indigenously developed Akash air defense missiles over those missiles developed by the foreign vendors that are being considered by the Indian Army. The government is also considering doing away with their plans to manufacture a single-engine fighter aircraft program favoring the light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas that is still in the evolution phase in terms of capabilities and technologies.
The global tender for VSHORADS is also slow moving, so the Defence Ministry has completed the staff evaluation phase and formed an oversight committee to oversee the procedures that are followed by the tender process. Under the VSHORAD tender, Indian Navy and Indian Army plan to procure 1276 single and multi launchers, and 5175 missiles worth more than 15,000 crore rupees with the transfer of technology to the Indian defense partner to facilitate local manufacturing inside the country.
Indian Army sources said that even though all the contenders were provided chances to make themselves compliant with the requirements of the tender, some of the nominees were not compliant in certain fields. Indian Army has been providing chances to vendors as they do not want to reach a single vendor situation, as the Defence Ministry is against cases of single vendors leading to monopoly situation.