India and Pakistan have long been at odds with each other, having engaged in several wars, conflicts, and military standoffs. The roots of the continued tension are complex but have centred mainly around the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Since February 2019, the Indo-Pak border is set on fire with the cross border strike carried out by the Indian army early this year. Both the countries have deployed their troops and military equipment at forward bases to reprise in case of a contretemps by either side.
The heightened tensions stemmed from a suicide car bombing carried out on 14 February 2019 in which over 40 Indian security personnel were killed. Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan-based militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack.
India blamed Pakistan for the bombing and promised a stringent response. India has regularly blamed Pakistan for utilising militants to destabilise Jammu and Kashmir. Adding to these, India deployed huge forces in the western sector after Pakistan threatened India with massive retaliation in the wake Jammu and Kashmir’s special status being revoked by New Delhi.
The Indian Army has now planned to deploy around 200 armoured fighting vehicles equipped with locally developed anti-tank guided missiles in the country’s Punjab and Rajasthan regions. The new advancements are expected to boost the army’s capabilities, as it can operate in terrain distributed with rivers and canals.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) can launch armours like TATA Kestrel and Abhay IFV in a few months, designed for modern-day warfare keeping in mind the crew survivability, protection against small arms fire, mobility and protection against concealed explosives.
These armours are made up of appliqué and composites along with welded steels. Additional armour kit can be applied in heavy firing zones. The hull floor is further strengthened to defeat mines and similar explosives. The seats are attached to the roof for improved blast protection. Fuel tanks are placed outside the troop compartment for additional safety.
An official on Friday stated “Armoured vehicles will be deployed in plain region bordering Pakistan. The 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles will have a minimum cruising range of 500 km on road and 250 km in a region with rivers or canals.”
These vehicles will be guarded by two long-range anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers. The Indian Army opinioned the manufacturers to also supply a man-portable ground anti-tank guided missile launcher with the vehicle-mounted ATGM. 30mm cannon with 7.62mm coaxial machine gun will also be available for the crew. The operating vehicle can also detect all types of chemical, biological, and nuclear contamination.