Defence ministry: Of OROP, acquisition clearances, rescue ops
New Delhi, Dec 25: A series of critical acquisition clearances worth over Rs 2 lakh crore, One Rank One Pension Scheme, Yemen and Nepal operations, changes at the helm of DRDO besides talks of a new defence procurement procedure and breakthrough in Rafale logjam kept the corridors of the Defence Ministry buzzing this year.
2015 also saw a major ambush in Manipur which left 18 soldiers dead while some senior officers were killed in anti- insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir.
The year started with the controversial Coast Guard operation on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 which left a suspected Pakistani boat in flames. As the government claimed that occupants of the "suspect" boat had set it on fire, a video surfaced soon after in which the force's DIG B K Loshali claimed that it was he who had ordered it to be shot at.
A surprised Defence Ministry and the Coast Guard were at pains rebutting his claims which finally led to his sacking earlier this month after court martial.
In January, the government removed Avinash Chander, chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), 15 months before his contract was to end.
It left everyone surprised and the government took nearly four months before S Christopher was appointed as the new DRDO chief and G Satheesh Reddy took over as the Scientific Advisor to the Minister after the post was split.
The biggest breakthrough in the Defence Ministry in 2015 was the decision to acquire 36 Rafale jets in a fly-away condition under a government to government deal from France.
The original tender was given a quiet burial as the government decided to go in for only 36 Rafales rather than the 126 that was initially envisaged.
The cost negotiations of the tender had been going in for over three years and had reached a stalemate. The year also saw work on the new Defence Procurement procedure (DPP). Though it was set to come out by March, the new government found the task rather difficult and the DPP is yet to be out.
The one constant buzzword during the entire year in the Defence Ministry was 'Make in India'. Almost every other contract sanctioned had a 'Make in India' push even as the Ministry interacted more with Indian industry associations to come out with a clear policy on the same.
Chinese submarine forays into the Indian ocean under the garb of anti-piracy operations kept the Indian Navy on its toes.
The Army too was on alert in Jammu and Kashmir, where even though the infiltration attempt was low, the casualty on the Army side was up, including the martyrdom of two colonels.