EXCLUSIVE: India's Arjun Tank In Army's Biggest Wargame

I will be posting longer on the Arjun, but I know a lot of you wanted to know what they looked like in deployment. (Note the large pixellated digi-camo). For now, let me tell you what 21 Corps commander Lt Gen Sanjiv Langer said when I asked him if the regiment under his formation was happy with the Arjun: "It is not our job to be happy. We have objectives, and we have to make do. Nothing is everything you want it to be. I can say that the Arjun has matured. It has gone beyond the point of being in incessant trials. It is inducted and operational now, as you saw in the exercise. But what we are really waiting for is the Arjun Mk.2."

Here's the sobering point though: this week, celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1971 war. It was a year after this war that the Arjun project began -- started specifically to give India a home-built battle tank it could manufacture in large numbers so that there would never again be a deficit of armour. With 124 Arjuns with the Army, and another 124 of the Mk.2 in the pipeline, we're talking a total of 248 tanks -- embarrassingly less than the intended figure of at least 2,000 that had initially been hoped for. That's rough going. Let's hope the Mk.2 is everything the Arjun was not. And more.

More soon.

Photos / Shiv Aroor

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