In order to boost its firepower along the border with Pakistan from Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Gujarat in the west, the Indian Army will induct nearly 460 T-90 'Bhishma' battle tanks in its 10 regiments. The government has already cleared the license acquisition from Russia for the upgraded T-90 battle tanks and they would be integrated at the Avadhi Heavy Vehicle Factory near Chennai under the 'Make in India' programme. The estimated cost of the project has been laid out at Rs 13,448 crore.
The move comes at a time when the Indian Army is keen to upgrade and modernise its war weaponry to be able to achieve fast mobilisation for striking hard at multiple enemy targets simultaneously. Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat had announced earlier that entire warfighting mechanism is being formatted which envisages the setting up of integrated battle groups in which T-90 tanks will play a vital role.
Indian Army currently has a fleet of 4,000 battle tanks that include1,070 T-90, 124 Arjun and 2,400 T-72 tanks across its 67 armoured regiments. Despite being endowed with massive defence strength, the tanks in possession lack the ability to hit enemy targets during night operations. However, the induction of upgraded T-90 battle tanks would do away with the problem as they are equipped with thermal imaging night sights to help in nocturnal combat operations. The additional 460 T-90 battle tanks are expected to be inducted by 2022-2026, the Times of India reported.
Pakistan wary of India's strong armour strength?
At a time when both India and Pakistan have come close on the heels of war, the neighbouring countries are leaving no stone unturned in modernising its defence equipment and warfare. In fact, Pakistan is also planning a deal with Russia, which has been India's old reliable defence supplier, to purchase 600 battle tanks, which also include T-90.
In terms of the number of armoured regiments and their strength, India still has the upper edge in terms of possession of a large number of battle tanks. Indian Army has 67 armoured regiments while the Pakistan Army has 51, sources told News Nation.
However, a majority of the battle tanks that Pakistan possesses have the ability to strike targets during night operations, something that has concerned India for long.
Although Pakistan is trying hard to match up to India's defence prowess by the acquisition of new 360 T-90 battle tanks, the various proposals put forth by Indian Army which also include Rs 60,000 crore Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme are still waiting to be cleared.