50 thousand strong force to take on China - The New Indian Express

50 thousand strong force to take on China

Published: 20th November 2013 07:57 AM

Last Updated: 21st November 2013 12:19 AM

India has begun the process of strengthening its offensive capability against China in the North East with the Central government providing sanction to the Army to raise a new 50,000-men potent Mountain Strike Corps at a cost of nearly Rs 65,000 crore.

China already has a vast rail and road network, and five air bases in Tibet with which it could easily mobilise 30 divisions to its borders with India in case of a conflict. (PTI/File photo)
 

The Government Sanction Letter (GSL) was issued early November, a full three months after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gave its nod for the new formation on July 17, government sources said here on Tuesday. On receiving the GSL, the Army has started the process of raising the new Strike Corps with posting of officers to its headquarters and setting in motion the process of selecting its chief from among the Major Generals, who had been approved for promotion as Lieutenant Generals soon.

The new formation will be called the ‘17 Corps’, but it will be the 14th Corps in the Army. It will be only the fourth Strike Corps and the only one facing China, as the other three — one Corps based in Mathura, two Corps at Ambala and 21 Corps at Bhopal — are focused on Pakistan.

In this July 19, 2011 photo, Indian army soldiers undergo a training session at the Siachen base camp, in Indian Kashmir on the border with Pakistan. Image used for representational purpose only. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
The Mountain Strike Corps will be headquartered at Panagarh in West Bengal, though the raising of the formation has begun in Ranchi, Jharkhand, and its units will be spread in Arunachal, Assam and other eastern and northeastern states. Image used for representational purpose only. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
China already has a vast rail and road network, and five air bases in Tibet with which it could easily mobilise 30 divisions to its borders with India in case of a conflict.

“The whole process of raising the corps would take about a year and it will have in it specialist mountain warfare equipment, artillery guns, infantry weapons, and air support elements in the form of attack helicopters, weaponised and transport choppers,” a senior Army officer said here.

The cost for raising the new strike corps would be spread over a seven-year period till 2020, with funds flowing during both the 2012-17 12th plan and 2017-22 13th plan periods under its Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), sources said.

Though the Army had mooted the new Corps in 2009-10, the proposal reached the CCS in July after diligent assessment of the requirement, both in terms of operational need and financial feasibility, by the military commanders and the bureaucracy, including a Finance Ministry vetting. The need became apparent after the armed forces incorporated the possibility of a two-front war with Pakistan and China in its doctrines.

The Mountain Strike Corps will be headquartered at Panagarh in West Bengal, though the raising of the formation has begun in Ranchi, Jharkhand, and its units will be spread in Arunachal, Assam and other eastern and northeastern states. The Corps will have two Divisions with headquarters in Bihar and Assam. Apart from this, the Army has also mooted two new ‘independent’ infantry brigades and two ‘independent’ armoured brigades with battle tanks, though the plans in this regard are yet to be finalised. An additional Rs 19,000 crore is likely to be the cost of the new brigades.

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