New Delhi, Dec 30: Pakistan has drawn up an ambitious plan to procure close to 600 battle tanks including T-90 tanks from Russia, primarily to bolster its military might along the border with India, intelligence sources said on Sunday.
Most of the tanks Pakistan was procuring will be able to hit targets at a range of 3 to 4 km, the sources told PTI.
Apart from battle tanks, Pakistan Army is also procuring 245 150mm SP Mike-10 guns from Italy out of which it has already received 120 guns, they said.
The sources said Pakistan was eyeing to buy from Russia a batch of T-90 battle tanks –- the mainstays of the armoured regiments of the Indian Army—and that the move reflects Islamabad’s intent to forge a deeper defence engagement with Moscow.
Russia has been India’s largest and most trusted defence supplier post-Independence.
The sources said as part of the mega plan to significantly revamp its armoured fleet by 2025, Pakistan has decided to procure at least 360 battle tanks globally besides producing 220 tanks indigenously with help from its close ally China.
Pakistan Army’s move to enhance its armoured corps comes at a time when the Line of Actual control in Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed growing hostilities in the last one year.
But, when the Indian Army is focused on counter operations, the Pakistan Army was fast reducing its gap with Indian forces in fighting a conventional war, sources said.
The Indian Army had drawn up a mega plan to modernise its infantry and armoured corps.
However almost all the procurement projects including the Rs 60,000 crore Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme are stuck due to a variety of reasons.
At present, India’s armoured regiments, comprising mainly T-90, T-72 and Arjuna tanks, have much more superiority over Pakistan, but sources said Islamabad was seriously planning to bridge the gap at the earliest.
As against around 67 armoured regiments of Indian Army, the number of similar regiments in Pakistan Army is around 51, the sources said.
They said, at present, over 70 per cent of the tanks in Pakistan’s armory have the capability to operate during night which, they said, was a matter of concern.
Besides eyeing to procure T-90 tanks, Pakistan Army is also in the process of inducting Chinese VT-4 tanks as well as Oplod-P tanks from Ukraine, the sources said.
Trials for both Oplod and VT-4 tanks have already been conducted by the Pakistan Army.
At present, Pakistan is learnt to have around 17 units pf Chinese origin T-59 and T69 tanks, which comprise 30 per cent of its total tank strength, the sources said.
It also has 12 regiments of Al-Zarar tanks, which makes 20 per cent of the tank fleet while Ukrain origin T-80-UD and T-85 UD as well as upgraded version of T-59 tanks comprise the rest of the 50 per cent tank fleet, they said.
“The Pakistan Army is carrying out modernisation of its armored regiments in a calibrated and time-bound manner which is not the case in India,” said an expert, who wished not to be named.
He said it was a matter of concern the way Pakistan was modernising its tank fleet. The Indian Army has also raised an independent tank brigade which is stationed in Ladakh but it is not enough, the expert added.
Danish billionaire’s 3 kids among killed
Copenhagen, Apr 22: Denmark’s richest man Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife lost three of their four children in the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, a spokesman for Povlsen’s fashion firm said on Monday.
The spokesman declined to give any further details but Danish media said the family had been on holiday in Sri Lanka.
A string of bombings at churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka killed 290 people and wounded about 500 in Sunday’s attacks. A senior investigator said on Monday that seven suicide bombers had taken part in the attacks.
Povlsen is the owner of fashion firm Bestseller, which includes brands like Vero Moda and Jack & Jones, and is the majority stakeholder in online retailer Asos while also holding a big stake in Zalando.
He owns more than 1 percent of all the land in Scotland, according to Forbes.
We took bold steps to counter ‘terror’, Congress response timid: Modi
Pimpalgaon (Maharashtra): Targeting the UPA regime on national security issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said his government took bold steps to counter ‘terror’, compared to the timid approach adopted by the Congress-led regime.
Modi’s remarks at a poll rally here in Nashik district of Maharashtra came a day after a terror attack in Sri Lanka killed 290 people in a series of eight blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in the island country.
The prime minister said that due to the bold approach adopted by his government, ‘terrorism’ has been curbed in India and is confined only to some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Under attack from the Congress for not letting the Rafale contract go to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Modi accused the opposition party of destroying the state-run enterprise.
The HAL has a unit in Nashik.
The prime minister said his government has increased defence production under the ‘Make in India’ programme.
Campaigning for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance candidates from Nashik, Dindori and Dhule Lok Sabha constituencies, Modi said the Lanka blasts took place on Easter when people were sharing the message of peace.
“What was the condition in India before 2014? Bomb explosions would take place in corners of the country every now and then in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kashi (Varanasi), Ayodhya, Jammu,” Modi said.
“What did the then Congress-NCP government do? Held condolence meeting, expressed grief. They went about crying in the world, saying Pakistan did this and that in our country,” he said.
“But what did your chowkidar do? Your chowkidar changed this timid approach of the Congress-NCP government,” Modi said.
In an apparent reference to the 2016 surgical strike and Balakot air strike carried out in February this year, Modi said the security forces barged into the “factory of terror and cleaned everything without any discrimination”.
Modi said every “terrorist” is aware that “Modi would trace him even if he is hiding in the netherworld.”
Without naming any leader from the opposition, Modi said “some” experience electric current the moment I talk about dynasty and national security.
He said the opposition was restless given the response the BJP got in the first two phases of the Lok Sabha polls across the country.
Addressing the rally in a region known for onion production, Modi said his government is trying to increase onion storage capacity and reduce tax on their transportation.
He claimed that the Congress tweaked crop prices to benefit middlemen.
“I have fought a battle against these middlemen,” he added.
“Our government working to end the rule of middlemen,” Modi said.
Speaking at a poll rally at Nandurbar later, Modi said accused the opposition parties of spreading rumours that reservations will modified if he returns to power.
Modi said he will ensure that the quota quantum is not disturbed.
“Till Modi is here, nobody can touch reservations, given to us by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said.
Modi also assured people in the tribal dominated constituencies in north Maharashtra that his government will ensure they would not face eviction from their land.
“As long as Modi is there, reservation for adivasis will not be removed. No one can lay hand on your agricultural land you are cultivating now,” he said.
The adivasis are currently struggling to keep their land with themselves as some provisions of the Forest Rights Act are being challenged.
“In Maharashtra alone, 1.25 crore farmers’ families are benefiting from Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Yojana. If voted to power again, we will remove the upper land holding limit of five acre,” Modi said.
“My government is also going to introduce a pension scheme for farmers in coming years,” he said.
North Maharashtra produces sugarcane which can be used for ethanol production, Modi said.
It will create jobs for locals but the Congress-NCP leaders never allowed it to happen, he said.
“These leaders used to get kickbacks for importing fuel.
If fuel imports are reduced due to ethanol blending, they fear of losing their income,” Modi said.
Recalling that it was in Nandurbar that the Aadhar scheme was launched in 2010, Modi said his government ensured its wider impact.
“But and now the Congress has approached the Supreme Court against Aadhar card,” he said.
Funds meant for pregnant women and children were “looted” by Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh and were seized from residences of some of their leaders, he said.
“They (Congress) are unrelenting in abusing me as I targeted their corruption,” Modi said.
The prime minister also attacked Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his alleged remark that those who don’t get a square meal join the army and become jawans. Modi said that according to Kumaraswamy, people who guard our borders are not children of the rich and join the armed forces because they don’t have food to eat.
JK Cong rings Delhi even for minor decisions: Omar
Srinagar, Apr 21: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah Sunday said Congress leaders from Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to take decisions on their own.
“When we were in an alliance with Congress, I noticed it myself that even for minor decisions they have to seek permission from party leadership in New Delhi,” Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in South Kashmir.
However, Omar said, NC candidates for Parliamentary Elections if elected will not have to take “dictation” from New Delhi.
“Not only New Delhi but even National Conference top leadership. Our Parliamentarians will just have to represent the voice of people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Omar said people should come out to vote as boycotting elections will only help the BJP and RSS.
He said it was unfortunate that Election Commision of India was ignoring repeated violations of Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendara Modi and top BJP leadership.