NEW DELHI: Indian Army is now planning to procure Russia's multi-purpose future ready combat vehicles (FRCV) T-14 Armata to replace its ageing T-72 main battle tanks (MBTs).
According to Sputniknews.com, the Indian Army hopes to buy 1,770 multi-purpose T-14 Armata FRCVs from Russia which is likely to cost USD 4.5 billion.
With the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat arriving in Russia for a six-day visit to the country on Monday, the spotlight is back on the deal to purchase T-14 Armata FRCVs.
The deal to buy T-14 Armata FRCVs, if negotiated properly and finalised in the later stages, is likely to further cement the strategic bilateral partnership between the two countries.
Shedding more light on Army Chief's 6-day visit, Col Aman Anand, PRO Indian Army, said, ''General Bipin Rawat is visiting Russia from October 1-6 an official bilateral visit. During the visit, the Chief of the Army Staff-led delegation is scheduled to meet Senior Military hierarchy of Russian Armed Forces and visit Key Military formations and establishments.''
''General Bipin Rawat shall be visiting Mikhailovskaya Artillery Academy, Headquarters of Western Military District at St Petersburg and General Staff Academy and Headquarters of a Motorised Rifle Division at Moscow,'' the statement said.
Interestingly, the Gen Rawat's visit also coincides with a bilateral annual summit being organised on October 5 in New Delhi during which defence deals worth over USD 10 billion are likely to be signed.
The T-14 Armata FRCVs are likely to figure in the discussions as the Indian military delegation led by General Rawat meets the top brass of the Russian Armed Forces and key military formations and establishments.
The procurement process for FRCVs was initiated by the Indian Army in November 2017 as part of a plan to induct hundreds of armoured vehicles similar to the Russian T-14 Armata, Ukrainian Oplot, and South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tanks.
According to the proposed procurement plan, the FRCVs will be manufactured in India by a private company in collaboration with the overseas original equipment manufacturer.
General Rawat is also likely to discuss the maintenance and life-cycle support of Russian-made military platforms in India.
The Indian Army has expressed hope that Gen Rawat's Russia visit will take forward the military to military cooperation to the next level.
"The visit is yet another milestone in giving impetus to the strategic partnership between India and Russia and taking forward the military to military cooperation to the next level," it said.