India signs $75-million deal with BEML to equip 1,500 T-90 battle tanks with mine ploughs


Defence News India: India’s ministry of defence Monday signed a $75 million (Rs 557 crore) deal with state owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) to equip Indian Army’s T-90 million battle tanks with mine ploughs.

Defence ministry’s acquisition wing Monday signed a deal with BEML for acquiring 1,512 landmine clearing equipment.

Indian Army will use these equipments on its mechanized columns deployed along Pakistan border, which has large tracts of desert where Indian and Pakistani armies lay down mines in large numbers to foil advance of battle tanks and other combat vehicles.

Bengaluru based state owned heavy vehicle and earthmover manufacturer will manufacture these mine ploughs under the ‘Buy and Make’ category under the defence procurement procedure.

These mine ploughs will provide sub-contracts to private Indian defence companies as there is a requirement to have at least 50% indigenous content.

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The contract, which was approved by India’s apex decision-making body, the defence acquisition council (DAC), chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh, will provide fillip to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Make in India scheme.

The ministry of defence is implementing the scheme it as Make in India in Defence scheme that aims to make India self-reliant in defence production.

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Indian Army’s T-90 main battle tanks fitted with mine ploughs will be nightmare for its archrival Pakistan Army as they can thrust deep in Pakistan from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab border without worrying about the mines laid by the enemy.

Indian Army’s bid to get mine ploughs delayed by 5 years

In March 2015, a DAC meeting chaired by then defence minister Manohar Parrikar had cleared the Acceptance of Necessity of mine clearing equipments for Indian Army’s main battle tanks.

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However, a final order has been delayed by five years. The matter assumed urgency following the heightened border tensions with China and Pakistan as Indian Army gears itself to simultaneously fight a two-front war.

The delivery of these over 1,500 mine ploughs are expected to be complete by 2027.

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Indian Army has recently deployed T-90 main battle tanks in Ladakh on China border following violent face-off with the Chinese PLA on June 15 in which 20 Indian soldiers and an unconfirmed number of PLA soldiers were killed.

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