Russian T-90c Tanks Make Indian Army Day Parade Debut

A military parade is being held in India on Wednesday to mark Army Day. Three Russian T-90C tanks will feature in the traditional Delhi parade for the first time.

The first 80 T-90C tanks were delivered to India in 2002 in line with a contract worth more than $800 million within the framework of military-technical co-operation between the two countries. They are all based in military districts along the border with Pakistan in the states of Rajasthan and Punjab. In all the Indian army is set to receive 310 of these tanks. Some of these will be delivered by the Russian side, while the remainder are being built by local firms under licence.

Other hardware in the parade include the "Tunguska" Russian portable anti-aircraft system, the BMP-2 mechanised infantry combat vehicle, T-72 and Indian Arjun tanks, Pritkhvi short-range ballistic missiles and 155mm howitzers.

Today's celebrations in India are taking place without the Defence Minster, George Fernandes. He left the country yesterday bound for Russia, where he will take part in a session of the inter-governmental commission on military-technical co-operation between the two countries. Moscow and Delhi have identified the need to move away from large-scale purchasing schemes to joint designing and manufacturing of hi-tech military hardware and equipment. The Brakhmos naval missile, which has a range of 300km, is an example of this co-operation. There are plans to introduce this weapon into the Indian navy by the end of the year. Both sides are also intending to implement a project for a fifth generation combat plane.

At present, 1, 230,000 men serve in the Indian army. About 75% of the army's weapons are Russian or soviet made.

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