Indian Army intends to procure hundreds of light tanks

The move comes amid the Indian-Chinese standoff in Eastern Ladakh that has created a need for a light tank that can be deployed in high-altitude areas

Photo: Northern Command, Indian Army

The Indian media reported that the Army has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the procurement of 350 light tanks weighing less than 25 tons. The RFI dated April 22 and published on Friday stated that 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.”

According to Indian news website The Hindu, the development comes amid the standoff in Eastern Ladakh that has created a need for a light tank that can be deployed in high altitude areas. Last year, during the standoff, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army deployed its Type-15 light tanks along the Line of Actual Control, and later, in August, the Indian Army deployed T-72 and T-90 Main Battle Tanks on the south bank of Pangong Tso to counter Chinese deployments.

As for the specifications of the light tank, the website said that it should feature a multiple, modular and upgradable weapon system with countermeasures capable of destroying various threats; It should also feature a remote-controlled weapon station with multiple weapons of different calibers for airborne and ground targets. The tank should employ modern advanced multipurpose "smart munitions" and have an anti-tank guided missile system, systems against explosive devices and drones, and capability to connect to the internet. According to the Request for Information, the tank should be a lightweight versatile weapon platform with enhanced tactical, operational, and strategic mobility that enables it to be used for ground or amphibious operations in high altitude areas, the report said.