India Rolls Out Locally-built Russian Tanks

Russia supplies 70% of India's military hardware.

India unveiled a first batch of 10 tanks built locally under licence from Russia and said it planned to manufacture 100 such units every year.

India has already acquired nearly 700 T-90 tanks as part of a 2001 deal with Russia that also included local production of more units through a technology transfer pact.

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) said each of the Indian-built tanks would cost up to 150 million rupees (three million dollars.)

"The tank has advanced protection system to protect crew and equipment from chemical, biological and radioactive nuclear attack," a DRDO statement said after the rollout from a state-run facility in southern Chennai city.

Junior Defense Minister Pallam Raju hailed the deliveries as an "important milestone," the Press Trust of India reported.

"The overall objective is to ensure self-sufficiency in defence preparedness to the maximum possible extent," Raju added.

Russia, which supplies 70% of India's military hardware, has also helped its long-time ally to locally build a nuclear-powered submarine which was put on sea trials last month.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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