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China border row: Indian Army issues notice seeking to procure 350 light tanks

Indian and Chinese troops have pulled back from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso lake, but soldiers of the two countries remain in close confrontation in other areas of eastern Ladakh. (File Photo: AP)Premium
Indian and Chinese troops have pulled back from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso lake, but soldiers of the two countries remain in close confrontation in other areas of eastern Ladakh. (File Photo: AP)

  • News reports last year had spoken of the need for lighter tanks for the Indian Army in the wake of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army deploying its light tanks along the Line of Actual Control during the standoff

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for procurement of 350 light tanks weighing less than 25 tonnes. This development comes in the backdrop of the India-China stand-off in eastern Ladakh where the Indian Army felt the need for a light tank easily deployable in High Altitude Areas (HAA).

The RFI document, dated April 22 and published on Friday, says the Defence Ministry intends to procure a “new generation combat vehicle platform, approximately 350 Light Tanks in a phased manner, along with performance-based logistics, niche technologies, engineering support package, and other maintenance and training requirements."

“The last date of acceptance of receipt of response is 18 June, 2021," it said.

The Indian Army has specified that the main armament feature a multiple, modular and upgradable weapon system with capability to destroy and offer countermeasures to varied threats. It is also required to feature multiple weapons for anti-aircraft and ground role. For ammunition, the tank should employ modern advance multipurpose “smart munitions" with gun tube launched anti-tank guided missile. The tank should have auxiliary power unit, preheater, environment control unit and anti drone capability, UAV jammers, net enabled, the RFI document said.

On its employment, the RFI said the tank should be a light weight versatile weapon platform with “enhanced tactical, operational, strategic mobility with greater options for employment in HAA, marginal terrain and amphibious operations." The RFI asks vendors to indicate the overall time frame of delivery under various kit configurations.

News reports last year had spoken of the need for lighter tanks for the Indian Army in the wake of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army deploying its light tanks along the Line of Actual Control during the standoff. India had later deployed its T-72 and T-90 Main Battle Tanks on the south bank of Pangong Tso to counter Chinese deployments. While the Indian and Chinese troops have pulled back from the north and south banks of the Pangong Tso lake, soldiers of the two countries remain in close confrontation in other areas of eastern Ladakh.

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