During the year, defence forces launched gigantic rescue and relief operations in Jammu and Kashmir following the devastating floods and in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha after cyclone 'Hudhud' besides being the first to reach out to Maldives after it lone desalination unit caught fire.

The year was also marked by the resignation of then Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi following a spate of mishaps under his watch while the Army got its new chief Gen Dalbir Singh, whose appointment by UPA government kicked up a row with BJP saying the matter should have been left to the new dispensation.

But one thing that stood out this year was the new government's pledge to fast track the defence acquisition process in a transparent manner while promoting domestic military industry.
Defence proposals worth Rs 1.50 lakh crore were cleared by the Narendra Modi government since it came in power in May.     

The ball was set rolling by Arun Jaitley, who was holding the additional charge of defence ministry apart from his finance portfolio.

In its first few days in office, the Modi government hiked the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in defence to 49 percent from the earlier 26 percent and significantly pruned the list of defence items whose production requires manufacturing licences.

It also lifted an earlier three year lock-in period for foreign investment in defence sector.

The NDA government is stressing on indigenisation of the military industry given that India has to import 70 percent of its defence hardware.
The slew of decisions brought cheers to the Armed Forces which has been facing an uphill task in its modernisation process.

"The Armed Forces is not looking at the value of decisions taken. The high figure of value is because some major projects have been cleared. But we are happy to note the number of decisions that have been taken on the modernisation front," a top defence official said about the new government.

However, a major foreign defence player cautioned, "We should also see how many deals have actually being firmed up. Mere decisions alone cannot work in long term."     

But the Indian domestic industry is happy that "Make in India" became the buzzword in the corridors of MoD.

Under Jaitley, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared an IAF proposal for issuance of a tender for construction of 56 transport aircraft to replace the force's fleet of Avro aircraft. This is seen as a significant project in which the private sector would be the sole player and lead to capacity-building in the private sector.

The DAC also decided that all the 384 light-utility helicopters needed by the Army and Air Force to replace the existing Cheetah/Chetak fleets will be made in India with foreign collaboration.

What is more, in a landmark decision on October 25, the DAC cleared projects worth over Rs 80,000 crore.

It was decided to build six submarines in India at a cost of about Rs 50,000 crore and to purchase over 8,000 Israeli antitank guided missiles and 12 upgraded Dornier surveillance aircraft. Of the Rs 80,000 crore, more than Rs 65,000 crore is Make in India or Buy & Make.

 For the personnel on the ground, the year was fraught with challenges.

The year saw 103 militants being killed in Jammu and Kashmir and 31 Army personnel martyred. In 2013, 65 militants were killed while 50 security personnel laid down their lives.

As assembly elections were underway in Jammu and Kashmir, militants carried out daring attacks. The militants seemed not only better trained but better equipped too.

2014 also saw increased tensions along the LoC and International Boundary with thousands of Indian civilians forced to evacuate following "unprovoked firing" by Pakistani troops.

However, Indian forces too were given a free hand and they replied strongly.
This year, it seemed, the attacks were timed to derail the assembly polls in Jammu & Kashmir, where people came forward in large numbers to vote.

The Defence Ministry also took some major decisions as part of its modernisation plan. One of the most significant ones was the fresh bid to break the Bofors jinx by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who had last month cleared a proposal to acquire 814 artillery guns for Rs 15,750.

The Indian Army has not acquired artillery guns in the past three decades after the Bofors scam surfaced in 1987.

Sources said at least six tenders have been issued so far but were cancelled due to a number of reasons including blacklisting and single vendor scenario. The plans to acquire such guns were first mooted under Army's Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan (FARP) formulated in 1999.

However, some major defence deals continue to remain undecided including the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft with France and the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft project with Russia.

Induction of the nuclear submarine INS Chakra on lease from Russia heralded an important chapter in the history of Indian Navy.

In addition, INS Vikramaditya, including its Mig 29K integral fighter aircraft, was inducted into the Navy.     

Maritime Surveillance Capability of the Navy was also bolstered with the recent induction of Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P81.

The year saw the opening of much awaited Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) – the nodal centre of the National Command Control Communications and Intelligence Network, a symbol of the paradigmatic change in India's outlook towards coastal security, in the wake of the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai in 2008.
Meanwhile, the government also virtually endorsed the long pending demand of One Rank One Pension. Acceding to One Rank One Pension demand for retired defence personnel, the government has, in principle, decided to implement it in the current financial year itself. Accordingly a sum of Rs 1000 crore has been allocated in the Union Budget 2014-15.
It will be implemented once the modalities are approved by the government.

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