According to sources within the Defence Ministry, Rs 64,000-crore has been approved for a military modernization in the area with plans to raise 4 new divisions along the India-China border. Of these, one would be a Mountain Strike Corps dedicated to offensive operations and another two independent brigades, one in Ladakh and the other in Uttarakhand.
Once cleared, this would make the single largest deployment of forces across the Indo-China border since the 1962 war. The proposal of the same will, however have to be first cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval and financial sanction.
A senior Defence official also stated that the army plans to induct as many as 90,000 more soldiers over the next five years during the 12th five-year plan period from 2012 to 2017, with most of them to be deployed along the Chinese border. The areas that is likely to get a boost is the army's fire-power, logistical capabilities and other aspects of the China border deployment.
The Army's requirement for the ultra-light Howitzers for mountains will also see an increase, so would the helicopter requirements considering the mountainous terrain. Apart from the troop expansion at the border, miliatry presence will be beefed up in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. A defence official said that the division would be strengthened there apart from increasing air force and naval capabilities there.
Sources have divulged that in spite of earlier apprehension, the plans for the expansion was cleared after consultations by the Defence Ministry with the defence acquisition council headed by minister A K Antony.
The mammoth cost of Rs 64,000 crore would also include the construction of new helipads and air strips, and also last-mile road linkages.