The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Aditya Bhola ,MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Even as Indian Army continue sideline the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun developed by DRDO and regard it as not fit for its requirement it has found support around the world. In a surprise development last week, a senior People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officer at its premier tank design institution, the Academy of Armoured Forces Engineering in Beijing, told visiting Indian journalists that the Arjun tank is “very good”, and well suited for Indian conditions. This could hardly have been pro forma politeness, as PLA is not given to praising India’s military capabilities. It would appear that PLA officers, who work closely with China’s defence industry in developing their new Main Battle Tank 3000 (MBT3000, also called VT-4), seem more aware than their Indian counterparts of the challenges and benefits of developing an indigenous MBT. To this day, the army has ordered only 122 Arjuns, the defence ministry told Parliament on April 24. The Arjun equips just two of the army’s 63 armoured regiments -the 43rd and 75th Armoured Regiments. In comparison, the army has almost 2,500 T-72 tanks, many of which are night-blind and nearing the end of their 32-year service lives. The army will also have 1,657 of the more modern T-90S tanks, being built under licence from Russia by the Heavy Vehicle Factory, Avadi, near Chennai. Although initially there was concern regarding the MBT but over the time all the major issues was overcome with improvements in the tank. In March 2010, the Arjun outperformed the Russian T-90S, the army’s premier tank, in comparative trials near Bikaner. The trials, attended by the army chief and top generals, sent shock waves through the Directorate General of Mechanised Forces, the nodal office for armoured and mechanised regiments and their tanks and infantry combat vehicles. So , if we really want to support Make In India we need the support & intent from the defence establishment to build a reliable indigenous defence industry.