India says it will deploy 50,000 troops on the frontier near China under a new army corps, a move aimed at boosting its border defence against what it sees is an imminent threat.
The new Mountain Strike Corps, equipped with mountain warfare capability, will have two divisions based in the Bihar and Assam states along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian state claimed by China.
The Cabinet committee on security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved some $10 billion budget for the creation of the new corps over seven years, reports the Press Trust of India.
Indian officials and defence analysts said the new corps had been in the works for years, but that the project had been dogged by financing issues, according to the Financial Times.
“The idea of getting an offensive capability vis a vis China on the land borders is something India has been toying with since 196s,” said Uday Bhaskar, an expert at the Society for Policy Studies, a New Delhi-based think-tank.
India has three strike corps, all of which are based near the border with Pakistan and are mainly equipped for desert and plains warfare.
Earlier this year, People’s Army Liberation soldiers reportedly intruded into Indian territory along the disputed Himalayan border, prompting New Delhi to refocus its border patrols.
“The recent incursion may have been a trigger… this might have been a tipping point,” Bhaskar said.