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50,000 additional troops to be deployed along China border

Source: PTI
July 17, 2013 22:24 IST
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Boosting the army's war fighting capabilities along the Line of Actual Control, the government on Wednesday given a go ahead to the creation of a corps including deployment of 50,000 additional troops along the China border at a cost of around Rs 65,000 crore.

The cabinet committee on security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared the proposal in its meeting, sources told PTI.

As part of the plans, the around 1.3 million-strong army is expected to raise the new Corps' headquarters at Panagarh in West Bengal along with two divisions in Bihar and Assam and other units from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.

Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh and Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne were also present at the Prime Minister's Office for providing any possible clarifications, if any, sought by the CCS members including Defence Minister A K Antony, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

As per the plans, the IAF will also deploy its force multiplier assets such as six each mid-air re-fuelling tankers and C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft at Panagarh.

The army had sent the proposal in this regard in 2010 but it was returned by the government asking the three services to work together on plans to strengthen their capabilities in that region.

The army will also get a number of new armoured and artillery divisions along with it to be deployed along the Northeast region. The existing Strike Corps in the force include the 1, 2 and 21 Corps are all based close to the Pakistan border and are mainly armed to fight a land battle unlike the new Corps, which will mainly focus on mountain warfare.

The army will raise the troops and formations as per its plans in next seven years. It has been taking a number of steps to strengthen its defences along the China border and already raised two divisions there in recent past.

The force is also planning to procure ultra-light howitzers, light tanks and helicopters to be deployed along the LAC to strengthen Indian positions there against the backdrop of the major military infrastructure modernisation on the Chinese side, sources said.

The army and the IAF have also plans of deploying ballistic and cruise missile units in the northeastern region and have also activated several helipads and air fields for its aircraft and choppers to operate in the north eastern sector.

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