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India has carried out initial trials of an indigenous light tank named ’Zorawar’ being developed primarily to enhance the Army’s overall combat capabilities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and L&T Defence are developing the air-transportable 25-tonne tank that has been designed for rapid deployment largely along the frontier with China, they said.

The initial internal trials of the tank took place at a facility in Hazira, Gujarat, less than two years after the ambitious project was sanctioned, the people in the know of the matter said.

The Indian Army is looking at deploying over 350 light tanks, mostly in the mountainous border areas, they said.

The development of ’Zorawar’ is being seen to be aimed at countering China’s deployment of tanks of the same categories. The Army planned to procure light tanks equipped with adequate firepower for deployment in high-altitude areas with an aim to enhance agility, manoeuvrability and operational capability.

It has taken a series of measures since the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh to enhance its combat capabilities. It deployed a significant number of easily transportable M-777 ultralight howitzers in mountainous regions along the LAC, including in Arunachal Pradesh.

The M-777s can be transported quickly in Chinook helicopters.

The Army has also deployed heavy tanks like T-90 and T-72 and infantry combat vehicles in eastern Ladakh. The artillery units of the Army have already deployed K-9 Vajra Tracked Self-Propelled Howitzers, Pinaka rocket systems and Dhanush gun systems along the frontier with China.

The Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a standoff since May 2020 and a full resolution of the border row has not yet been achieved though the two sides have disengaged from a number of friction points.

The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.