The Indian Army has kick-started a process to make its infantry combat vehicles capable of operating in the night, a move that comes at a time it is engaged in a fierce border row with the Chinese military in eastern Ladakh, officials said on Monday.
The army has already invited expression of interest (EoI) from eligible domestic companies for the development of prototype and further procurement of armament for BMP-2/2K infantry combat vehicles.
The current fleet of BMP-2/2Ks was first inducted into the Army in 1985 and it has been the mainstay of the mechanised infantry since then.
The EoI said the armament system is “night blind” and needs to be upgraded with nigh-fighting capabilities.
“The terrain along our borders lends itself to conduct of large scale mechanised operations and the belligerence of our adversaries on the borders necessitate that our capabilities are adequately built up to match the threat,” the Army said in the document.
It said the existing armament sighting system in use is based on image intensifier technology which has its limitations and is not fit for modern-day warfare.
“Present system is also deficient of modernised Fire Control System and Automatic Target Tracker which adversely affects the capability of BMP-2/2K to fight both during day and night,” it said.
The Indian Army is engaged in a standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh since early May.
Both sides held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the row.
Tensions have further escalated since last week in the region after Indian troops foiled attempts by the Chinese PLA to occupy Indian territories in the Southern Bank of Pangong lake area on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.
Following the confrontation, India occupied a number of strategic heights in the Chushul sector overlooking crucial bases of the Chinese military. Since then, China has deployed additional troops, tanks and anti-tank guided missiles in the area.
India too has strengthened its combat capabilities following reinforcements by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
In the aftermath of the row, the Indian Army has initiated a number of new programmes to bolster its combat capabilities.