Senate of Pakistan

India's New Rs 64 billion Mountain Corps is aimed at China

India's New Rs 64 billion Mountain Corps is aimed at China July 22, 2013

NEW DELHI: India may not place any major component of the proposed mountain strike corps in Arunachal Pradesh as part of an effort not to further aggravate the tenuous ties with China. Army sources, however, also point out that militarily too it won't be a wise strategy to place any key component of the offensive arm close to the line of actual control (LAC).


The proposed corps would be India's first offensive corps with mountain warfare capabilities and the fourth strike corps. However, by no means would it match China's aggressive military capabilities and infrastructure across the LAC.


The proposal for raising the strike corps has been hanging fire for the past several years, and had been delayed primarily because of financial considerations. Simultaneously, India is also trying to create a modern infrastructure close to the border, both for improving civilian connectivity and military movement.


The CCS, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Wednesday approved the long-pending proposal of the Army to create its first mountain strike corps, meant for offensive operations across China border, at a budget of over Rs 64,000 crore in about seven years.


Terming as "pragmatic" the government's decision to raise a mountain strike corps along the Chinese border, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday said the country prepares for peace as much as for "tough" times.


"In national interest, we will do whatever needs to be done at the appropriate level. We work for peace as much as for tough times," he said, adding that the government takes "steps whenever necessary".


Speaking on the sidelines of an art exhibition, he added, "We live in a world which combines principles with pragmatism ... we also maintain a rational, decent balance in our policies."


According to available indications, the government is not inclined to place any major component of the strike corps in Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims to be southern Tibet and a disputed territory. Indian activities in Arunachal have been touchy for China for long, and New Delhi wouldn't want to create any further damage to its already tenuous ties with Beijing.


The tricky Arunachal issue could also be avoided because the Army wouldn't be inclined to place any major component of the strike corps so close to the border. Formations of the corps would likely be based in West Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Jharkhand. In some of these states fresh land may have to be acquired, in other places the Army already has enough land to accommodate the new formations, sources said.


As of now the plan is to headquarter the corps at Panagarh in West Bengal, but a final decision would be taken after the government sanction comes through.


The corps would have two infantry divisions trained in mountain warfare, one air defence brigade, two artillery brigades, one each engineering and aviation brigades. While the artillery brigades could be looking at inducting ultra light howitzers, the aviation brigade could boast of attack helicopters and Boeing's heavy lift helicopter Chinooks.


In recent years, India has been making steady efforts to improve its military capability along the LAC. Indian Army has already raised two new infantry divisions at Lekhapani and Missamari in Assam in recent times.


Source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-18/india/40655827_1_strike-corps-china-border-arunachal-pradesh



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