Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently spoke to Jeong Kyeong-Doo, Minister of National Defence, Republic of Korea, over phone yesterday. During the conversation, the ministers reviewed the progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives and expressed commitment to further promote defence cooperation engagements between the two armed forces. Doo urged Singh to conclude the deal for the South Korean made K-30 Biho anti-aircraft system which Indian Army had selected in 2018.

The contract has been stuck after Russia filed objections and claimed the Indian Army did not properly test its weapon system and showed favoritism towards the South Korean anti-aircraft system, Hence requested to re-start the bidding process. According to media reports, two separate systems offered by Russia included upgraded Tunguska M1 and Pantsir missile systems which both failed tests, with the most critical being mobility trials where they could not perform as per the requirements.

Under self-propelled air defence gun missile system (SPAD-GMS) tender, Army wanted to procure 104 K-30 Biho systems, 97 ammunition carriers, 39 command vehicles, 4,928 missiles and 172,260 rounds of ammunition, bringing the contract’s total value to $2.5 billion but due to several objections and complaints by the Russian side, India is yet to move towards the stage of price negotiations since ministry’s internal monitoring committee is yet to file its finding report. Russia is seeking another chance for field trials to prove its systems meet all technical requirements.

The selection of K-30 Biho was the second major win for a South Korea in India, after the procurement of the K-9 `Vajra’ self-propelled artillery systems.


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