On September 15, 1916, during the Great War a giant iron moving fortress appeared on the fields of Somme (France) – people called it tank. The British Mark-I was among the very first tanks to appear on the battlefield and brought an ‘evolutionary’ revolution in military affairs (RMAs). The history of tanks can be traced back to the ancient times when Trojan horse acted as a concealed yet secure platform to deploy infantry on the battlefield; nevertheless, it is true that it was more of an infiltration tactic. However, it can be said with confidence that Greek Phalanx laid down the foundations of armoured spearheads to strike deep into the enemy’s territory while minimizing troop vulnerability and increasing firepower.The First World War set the stage for the deployment and testing of armour that was slow, had an underpowered engine, lacked robust suspension and mobility, minimal firepower and protection, and had no or little communication and instead of being destroyed by enemy fire – it bogged down by design. Germans were the first to face such a weapon that was unforeseen before; nevertheless, they improvised and General Oskar von Hutier’s Stormtrooper tactics greatly worked and penetrated almost 38 kilometres into Allied territory during April 1918. Germans did not lose the war because of not having tanks; nonetheless, perhaps General Eric Ludendorff was right when he held revolutionaries responsible for ‘stabbing Germany in the back’. However, the Allied tanks played a vital role in putting a halt to the German Spring Offensive of 1918 and ultimately forced them back to the Hindenburg Line. It was during the Inter-War period (1919-1939) that tanks got true attention. In Germany, Rommel, Guderian and most importantly General Hans von Seeckt played a decisive role in realizing the untapped potential of tanks. Lieutenant Ernst Volkcheim argued in favour of tanks with radio for better communication and coordination. In America, Patton and Eisenhower wrote about the importance of tanks in a future conflict. In France, de Gaulle outlined the potential role of tanks. In Britain, Major General J. F. C. Fuller and Captain Basil Henry Liddell Hart wrote extensively on armour. In Soviet Union, Marshal Tuchashevsky, Svechin and Frunze shed light on the possible role tanks can play in a military conflict. However, Guderian’s Achtung Panzer (Attention Tanks) (1937) and Rommel’s Infantry Attacks (1937) are seminal works which greatly shaped the future of tank warfare.The German Blitzkrieg or the Lightning War of the Second World War called for unprecedented tank warfare supported by Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers and mobile artillery. Germans were the first to face tanks and were also the first to use tanks having an independent role. Germans employed Blitzkrieg against Poland, Scandinavians, France and the Low Countries, the Balkans, Northern Africa and the Soviet Union. German Panzer-Kampf-Wagen III and IV (PzKpfw-III & IV) and later on Tiger-I and II and Panther showed remarkable show of force and skill in subduing the enemy with speed. Later on, Soviet T-34 with a sloped armour and 76mm high velocity gun with wide tracks to overcome snow and mud greatly stopped German panzers. The journey of tanks manifested during the Second World War and continued to overshadow war and warfare – which still is visible today. Kenneth Macksey’s book “Tank Warfare: A History of Tanks in Battle” (1972) drew a remarkable light on the role of tanks in military conflicts. The Indo-Pak animosity is deep rooted in the deliberately vicious Partition of India in 1947. Soon after the independence, India deployed its forces in Jammu and Kashmir and annexed it illegally and unlawfully. Pakistan was intentionally kept weak and it felt the absence of tanks in its arsenal. Had rightful share of tanks been given to Pakistan, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir would have been settled long ago. The Indo-Pak Wars of 1965 and 1971 showed the relevance of tanks primarily due to the terrain and geography of the region. Interestingly, Pakistan was able to overwhelm India in the Rann of Kutch prior to the 1965 War due to PT-76 amphibious tanks acquired by China.The German Blitzkrieg or the Lightning War of the Second World War called for unprecedented tank warfare supported by Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers and mobile artilleryIn the contemporary times, India is momentously arming its armed forces with latest equipment. India is modernizing by means of indigenization, joint-venture, and transfer of technology and import of military hardware. The Indian Army is the main recipient of the modernization in relation to other branches of armed forces. The capabilities of Land Forces culminate in armour and mobile forces which can carry out speedy operations in defensive as well as offensive modes. India has chosen Russian-built T-90S to be its main workhorse along with indigenously produced Arjun. It has modernized its T-72 with the help of Israel which gave it the capability to operate in all weather conditions day and night. Indian Army’s main battle tanks are versatile and T-90S and Arjun are capable of firing anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) from their respective main turrets which in turn gives them enhanced firepower. On the other hand, Pakistan jointly developed MBT-2000 Al-Khalid with China to be the main component of its fighting force. It also bought T-80UD from Ukraine and upgraded T-59 to Al-Zarrar standard. None of the tanks in Pakistan’s arsenal is capable of firing ATGM from its main gun. One believes that the Indian T-90S is one of the most agile and versatile tanks available in the defence market today – primarily due to its weight being 47 tons. Russian T-90S carries a long history since it is from the bloodline of T-34 and is equipped with latest imaging, fire control system and is integrated in the complex information dissemination system.While keeping in view the Indo-Pak equation and the possibility of a limited war below the nuclear threshold, one argues that Pakistan needs to develop or co-develop a new main battle tank. The tank can be equipped with tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which can be armed and can provide real time imagery to the tank commander while enhancing situational awareness. This armed UAV can work as a force multiplier which can provide close air support as well as can feed the data to Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft – hence, can contribute towards more network centricity. The new main battle tank can be equipped with a smoothbore or rifled gun with rounds mainly comprising of depleted uranium shells which have great penetration power in relation to ordinary shells or even armour piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS).The new tank can employ electric batteries along with the traditional diesel engine just like the German PzH-2000 which in turn can significantly reduce its engine noise consequently giving it a stealthy approach towards the enemy. The tank can employ layers of armour just like Russian T-90S. The armour can be made of composite materials like a mixture of alloys and steel along with other strengthening material just like Chobham armour of American M1 Abrams. The tank can employ point defence systems like the Israeli Iron Fist to reduce the vulnerability of the tank towards rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. One acknowledges the budget restraints Pakistan been facing; nevertheless, Indian Cold Start Doctrine and ostensible continental operations to capture territory – stresses Pakistan to build a new main battle tank to match the adversary’s armour. Likewise, offensive military power in sea, air and cyber is not to be compromised. The uncertainty in the intentions of states is the intervening variable that leaves states with no choice but to rely on military power to maintain balance of power and terror. Nevertheless, Pakistan has to strengthen its economy to realize the dream of peace and stability in the region.The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, October 16th 2018.