Phase II of China border modernisation to start in mid-2013

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New Delhi, Oct 21: The Indian government is expecting to make effective the second phase of its China border modernisation project by the middle of next year after the first phase is completed. The first phase included setting up of two new Army divisions and activation of several advanced landing grounds.

It is learnt that the government has asked the three military chiefs to come up with an integrated strategy for the second phase. India's border preparations vis-a-vis the Chinese have come up in discussions in recent times, more because this October marks the 50th anniversary of India's humiliating defeat in the hands of the Chinese in the 1962 war. The Indian establishment, for the first time in these 50 years, honoured the martyrs of the war at a programme organised in New Delhi on Saturday.

Government sources said the prime minister's office (PMO) has sought an integrated border plan as New Delhi does not want the wings to have a silo approach on this sensitive issue. Border issues between India and China have been a long-standing one and they have gained more importance in an era when both the countries are projected as future great powers and hence capable of challenging each other.

The idea of an integrated strategy gained prominence after the Army proposed to set up the nation's first and only mountain strike corps along the Chinese border besides other components, amounting worth over Rs 64,000 crore. The idea was approved by the Ministry of Defence and forwarded to the Ministry of Finance and the PMO. Subsequently, the PMO asked the military chiefs to develop an integrated strategy.

The Indian response along the Chinese border, which was left without any modernisation for a long time since the 1962 war, was launched only about a decade earlier after it altered its strategy. India, however, lags far behind China which has built impressive border infrastructure including all-weather roads leading almost to their forward military points.

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