As part of revamping its armoured fleet by 2025, Pakistan has decided to procure 600 battle tanks, including T-90 tanks from Russia, besides producing indigenously with the help of China to bolster its military might along the border with India, Times of India reported on Sunday.
Reportedly, most of the tanks Pakistan is procuring will be able to hit targets at a range of 3 to 4 km. Apart from battle tanks, Pakistan Army is also procuring 245 150mm SP Mike-10 guns from Italy out of which it has already received 120 guns, the report added.
The report stated that Pakistan is eyeing to buy from Russia a batch of T-90 battle tanks- the mainstays of the armoured regiments of the Indian Army and that the move reflects Islamabad’s intent to forge a deeper defence engagement with Moscow.
Russia has been India’s largest and most trusted defence supplier post Independence.
Reportedly, as part of the mega plan to significantly revamp its armoured fleet by 2025, Pakistan has decided to procure at least 360 battle tanks globally besides producing 220 tanks indigenously with help from its close ally China.
Pakistan Army’s move to enhance its armoured corps comes at a time when the Line of Control (LoC) has witnessed growing hostilities in the last year.
The Indian Army had drawn up a mega plan to modernise its infantry and armoured corps. However, almost all the procurement projects including the Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme are stuck due to a variety of reasons.
Reportedly, at present, over 70 per cent of the tanks in Pakistan’s armoury has the capability to operate during the night which is a matter of concern for India.
MODERNISING TANK FLEET:
Besides eyeing to procure T-90 tanks, Pakistan Army is also in the process of inducting Chinese VT-4 tanks as well as Oplod-P tanks from Ukraine, the report stated. Trials for both Oplod and VT-4 tanks have already been conducted by the Pakistan Army.
At present, Pakistan is learnt to have around 17 units of Chinese origin T-59 and T69 tanks, which comprise 30 per cent of its total tank strength, the report added.
It also has 12 regiments of Al-Zarar tanks, which makes 20 per cent of the tank fleet while Ukraine origin T-80-UD and T-85 UD, as well as upgraded version of T-59 tanks, comprise the rest of the 50 per cent tank fleet, the report further stated.
“The Pakistan Army is carrying out modernisation of its armoured regiments in a calibrated and time-bound manner which is not the case in India,” said an expert, who wished not to be named.