India-Japan Defense Ministers 'Commend' New Delhi’s Amphibious Aircraft Purchase

  • Our Bureau
  • 09:13 AM, July 15, 2016
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India-Japan Defense Ministers 'Commend' New Delhi’s Amphibious Aircraft Purchase
A scaled model of Shinmaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft on disply during DefExpo 2016 in Goa, India (Image: Staff Photo)

India’s long-due purchase of 12 Amphibious Aircraft from Japan’s Shinmaywa found mention in the recent interaction between the two nations’ defense ministers in New Delhi Thursday.

The Defense Minister of Japan Gen Nakatani is paying a bilateral visit to India at the invitation of Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar. The two ministers held the annual Defense Ministerial Meeting on 14 July 2016 in New Delhi.

The Ministers ‘commended’ the effort made by both countries regarding the co-operation on US-2 amphibious aircraft which was launched in 2013, according to a joint statement issued after the meeting.

A source in the Japanese company told that they were aware of the joint statement and believed that there was a serious discussion about the procurement. He said, they are still waiting for further information. The case is still to go to Services Capital Acquisition Requirement Categorization Board (SCAP) and later to Cabinet Committee for Security and is likely that the SCAP will be appointed in August.

The SCAP plays a crucial role at every stage, right from identification of the requirement to induction of the equipment. In fact, capital acquisitions are an area that presents a unique paradigm of integration between the civilian and military bureaucracy within the MoD.

A proposal for acquisition of a capital asset – be it a weapons system, ship, submarine or aircraft - can be initiated only if it forms part of the Annual Acquisition Plan (AAP) of the Service concerned. The AAPs are two-year roll-on plans culled out from the Services Capital Acquisition Plans (SCAP), which are a part of the five-year defense plan.

While the 15-year Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) and SCAP are approved by the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), the Service-specific AAPs are approved by the Defense Procurement Board.

The procurement of 12 amphibious Aircraft from Shinmaywa has not progressed after the DAC chaired by the defense minister delayed an expected go-ahead to the deal last year for reasons not disclosed.

Sources in March had told that the original deal had been negotiated under the aegis of a joint working group (JWG) consisting of the Indian and Japanese governments. However, sources assume that the reason why the procurement has been delayed could be because the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) does not have a provision for procurement initiated by a joint working group.

Sources had said that the Acceptance of Necessity (AON), a crucial first step in the procurement process had not been initiated by the Indian Navy while floating the request for information in 2011. This could perhaps be the missing link in the bureaucratic chain needed to complete the deal. The Shinmaywa Us-2 aircraft had been selected after a competitive process which involved the Russian Beriev Amphibious aircraft as well.

The Indian Navy had sought amphibious aircraft to supply troops and equipment besides conducting search and rescue operations in the seas surrounding the Indian mainland. Currently the navy is dependent upon ships or aircraft that fly into the Andaman and Nicobar or Lakshadweep islands.

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