Army Chief seeks one lakh soldiers to guard China border

Army Chief seeks one lakh soldiers to guard China border

Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh is expected to take up the issue of raising an offensive Corps including around one lakh soldiers along the China border in a presentation soon to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the shortages faced by the 1.3 million-strong force.

In the briefing before the Prime Minister, Gen Singh is expected to discuss the issue and need for raising a Mountain Corps with offensive capabilities along the boundary with China in the northeastern sector, sources told PTI here.

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 around Rs.64,000 crore proposal is in the final stages of being vetted by the three Services and is expected to be sent to the Government very soon, they said.

The Army has plans to raise the new Corps in Panagarh in West Bengal and a number of new armoured and artillery divisions along with it to be deployed along the Northeast.

The Army has been taking a number of steps to strengthen its defences along the China border and raised two Divisions there in recent past.

The IAF has also decided to deploy its C-130 Super Hercules transport aircraft in Panagarh only.

In the presentation before the Prime Minister, the Army Chief is also expected to brief the Prime Minister on the "hollowness" faced by the force in its defence preparedness.

The Army is in the process of identifying more areas where it is facing shortfalls and they will be added in the presentation before the PM, the sources said.

Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia is coordinating with all arms and services to prepare the list of equipment and platforms which are short in inventory and would be required by the force to maintain its operational preparedness.

During the recent Commanders' Conference also, the Army Chief had said "hollowness" in the country's defence preparedness will be addressed by pushing for a new direction in modernisation.

"There was a need to address hollowness in defence preparedness and undertake modernisation with added vigour," he had said.

Gen Bikram Singh's predecessor Gen V K Singh had highlighted the critical shortage of arms and ammunition faced by the various arms and services of the force in a secret letter written to the Prime Minister.

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