The Indian Army’s operational capability along the China border will be getting a major fillip as two tank brigades are soon to be deployed in that region. Defence Ministry has cleared the plan to raise six new armoured regiments that will be equipped with roughly 350 tanks. In addition, three mechanised infantry battalions will be raised with 180 BMP-II infantry combat vehicles.
Indian Army’s Ladakh-based 14 Corps are to be allocated an armoured brigade to safeguard the region nearing Tibet at Chushul in Ladakh. The second armoured brigade will be located in the Siliguri corridor in Bengal which can safeguard the region in Sikkim. The IAF has also beefed up its operational capability in the north-east with Sukhoi-30MKI fighters flying from new IAF air bases in Tezpur and Chhabua.
Meanwhile, India is also raising a mountain strike corps in the northeast which will consist of two mountain divisions with about 40,000 soldiers. With the armoured brigade coming up, the strike corps will also get a major boost in their capability to monitor the security in that region and be equipped to counter attack.
According to Defence experts, the upcoming tank brigades may have to be complimented by attack helicopters as well. It is felt that the Indian Army and IAF must also have attack helicopters like Mi-28 or Apaches in this region since they will go a long way in countering the enemy’s armoured attacks.
Lately, India has been concentrating on its border regions and cautiously building up more capability along volatile regions. The current decision to deploy tanks along the border region is not a new development. While deployment of armoured brigade in the north-east is new, tanks have been deployed in Ladakh area for some long time now. India had 10 Mountain divisions and is now adding a few more.
With its operational capabilities waning, the Indian Army has been pressurizing the Defence ministry to undertake measures to speed-up delayed material procurements and revive the stalled infrastructure projects along the border regions.
The need to beef up operational preparedness across the Sino-Indian border has been imperative due to China’s massive build-up of infrastructure along the border. Defence experts have pointed out that China has armoured and motorised formations in both their military regions across the Line of Actual Control.
As for the Defence ministry, it has set up three committees headed to hasten material acquisitions and the building of roads, rail links and airfields along the 4,057-kilometer-long border with China in the north and east. Defense ministry officials said the empowered committees would hasten the delayed import of howitzers for two newly raised army divisions of around 40,000 personnel for eventual deployment along the Chinese border in north-east India.