The Indian Army seeks to acquire 350 light tanks in order to deal with concentrations of Chinese Army forces on the eastern Ladakh border. The three types of tanks being considered for the large deal are Russia's Sprut, Elbit System's Sabrah and South Korean company Hanwha's K21-105.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh is about to visit Russia where he will observe a display of the Sprut, military sources in Delhi said. Russian website Sputnik News reported that because of the large scale of the deal it is possible that there will be additional competitors, perhaps even from the Indian defense industry.
The Indian Army is leaning towards acquiring Russia's Sprut because it is equipped with a cannon similar to those of India's T-72 and T-90 tanks, so there will be no need to use different ammunition. The Russians have also improved the Sprut's engine, and therefore, said Brigadier (Ret.) Rahul Bhonsle, an Indian military expert, the Russian tank apparently has an edge over the competitors from Israel and South Korea.
India and China maintain their deployment of thousands of troops, tanks and artillery on the eastern Ladakh border since the talks between the two countries fell apart in April. India deployed Rafale fighters as well as T-72 and T-90 tanks, and the Chinese carried out a number of military exercises on the other side of the border.
In January, Elbit Systems announced that it signed a contract worth $172 million to supply the Sabrah light tank to the Army of a country in the Asia-Pacific region. The Sabrah weighs 30 tons and is built on a tracked platform made by General Dynamics European Land Systems (located in Spain), or on a wheeled platform made in the Czech Republic. The highly mobile tank is equipped with a 105mm cannon and a number of advanced electronic systems made by Elbit.