High costs stall Army’s plans on China border

TNN

The massive military modernization along the China border, including the setting up of the country’s first Mountain Strike Corps, has run into a new hurdle with the government raising questions about the high capital expenditure involved in it.

Sources said the defence ministry has returned the Army proposal to set up the strike corps, and two independent brigades along the China border. The MoD has raised detailed queries about the high capital costs projected by Army headquarters. The Army has projected an expenditure of over Rs 12,000 crore for the entire proposal, which is part of New Delhi’s efforts to catch up with China which has steadily built up outstanding military capabilities and infrastructure along the disputed Sino-Indian border.

The Army had sent the proposal to the MoD sometime in early 2010, for putting it up to the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval. In April, the PM had offered all government support for Army modernization along the China border during a presentation to him by the Army top brass. The Army leadership appraised the PM about the overwhelming capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army along the border with India during the presentation.

Despite the PM’s assurance, the MoD has now raised questions about the Army’s assessment of Rs 12,000 crore needed to set up the new formations, and sent back the file to Army headquarters. “The concern is about the high capital expenditure projected by Army headquarters,” senior sources said.

The Army proposes to set up the country’s first Mountain Strike Corps and two independent brigades along the border with China. The corps would be India’s fourth strike corps, and the first one for dedicated offensive operations in mountainous terrain. This is besides the two mountain divisions already being raised along the China border.

One of the independent brigades is to be stationed in Ladakh while the other would be based in Uttarakhand. The proposed corps could be headquartered at Pannagarh in West Bengal, a recent report said.

Sources said once the Army headquarters replies to the MoD query and other clarifications are settled, the file would be processed for final approval. “We are hopeful that it can be cleared this financial year,” a senior source said.

Since the humiliating defeat in 1962, India has been on an extremely defensive posture along the China border, including a deliberate decision not to develop border infrastructure. In the process, as New Delhi stood by, China built up an impressive border infrastructure and capability to mobilize almost 500,000 troops in a matter of a few weeks to the Line of Actual Control with India.

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Posted by pilotpaul on Aug 31 2011. Filed under All News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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