Process Of Modernisation to Up Army's Mountain Warfare Ability
The Indian Army is giving the purchase of the indigenous Indian light tank, suitably named "Zorawar," first priority which have been envisaged to be manufactured indigenously, for deployment in the mountains, swarm drones, loitering weapons, anti-drone capabilities, and next-generation Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities are some examples of niche technologies that have been introduced. This is due to the Indian Army's skill in outmanoeuvring Chinese soldiers during the standoff in eastern Ladakh by utilising armour at a height of 15,000 feet. These are a part of the overall modernization programme for the mechanised infantry and armoured corps. The Indian Army is accelerating the modernization of its armoured wing to address new challenges and the evolving dynamics of contemporary combat. It is procuring under ‘Project Zorawar’ to bolster its overall firepower and operational prowess to deal with any eventuality.
Following the aggression of the Chinese troops as they advanced towards Pangong Tso and then the Indian Army had surprised the Chinese in the South of Pangong Tso by occupying some heights, the Indian Army felt the urgent need to have Light Tanks in service to gain operational dominance in High Altitude Areas (HAA) over its adversary - China - in 2020. In the unavailability of light tanks, the Indian Army was forced to use larger tanks in the terrain along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, such as the T-72, which weighs about 45 tonnes, and the T-90, which weighs about 46 tonnes. These two tanks are not intended for use in high-altitude regions. They work better when used in plains and deserts. The Indian Army has published a Request for Information (RFI) in 2021 for the purchase of 350 Light Tanks, which are tanks that weigh less than 25 tonnes and have the same firepower as normal tanks. In order to counter Chinese deployment of similar armoured columns along the LAC, these tanks are to be stationed in High Altitude Areas (HAA).
In honour of the military officer Zorawar Singh Kahluria, this project for light tanks has been given that name. He had served under Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu, who authorities claim is referred to as the "conqueror of Ladakh." Its design enables it to function in a variety of terrain types, including high altitude regions, island territories, and marginal terrain. The Army also wants the light tank to be amphibious so that it may be used to deploy across riverine areas and even the Pangong Tso Lake in Eastern Ladakh. These can be quickly deployed to satisfy any operational needs. China and Pakistan, two of India's opponents, have already introduced modern tanks that are technologically advanced and have a combination of medium-weight and light tanks with high power to weight ratios.
In all previous battle engagements, the Indian Army has successfully used light tanks as force multipliers, including the World War II-era Stuart tanks of the 254 Indian Tank Brigade at the Battle of Kohima, the AMX-13 tanks at Chushul and Bomdila in 1962, the AMX-13 tanks at Chammb in 1965, and the amphibious PT-76 light tanks in 1971, with the PT-76 tanks leading the race to the water. The Indian Army's attention switched primarily to the Western Borders in the 1980s, which led to the conversion of PT-76 units to T-72 profile. The AMX-13 and PT-76 tanks were phased out at that time. Since 1982, the Indian Army has been forecasting the need for a Light Tank capability that had previously demonstrated to be a battle-winning factor in mountainous and riverine terrain.
The design of Zorawar allows it to operate in a range of environments, including island nations, high-altitude locations, and harsh terrain. It will have specialised technology, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), drone integration, active protection systems, and a high level of situational awareness, and be extremely transportable for quick deployment to meet any operational circumstance. The firepower of the current T-72, T-90, and native Arjun tank fleet is being increased. We are aiming for ammo that can penetrate more deeply. These have recently been shown by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in their experiments, and user trials with the Army are about to follow. The nature of the current threat scenario and the expected future wars' general outline have created new difficulties for which the Indian Army must be ready. The Indian Army's tank equipment profile must be as adaptable and flexible as medium and light platforms.