New Delhi: Against the backdrop of Chinese
military build-up along its boundary with India, the Army has
proposed an increase in its strength by around one lakh and
raising a new mountain strike corps along with other new
formations in the Northeast.
"We have proposed to increase our strength by another
90,000 to one lakh troops and that has been cleared by the
Defence Ministry. The proposal is at present awaiting
clearance from the Finance Ministry," army sources said here.
Army`s present strength is more than 11 lakh troops
including over 35,000 officers.
They said the increase in the number of troops will be
done in a phased manner over a period of more than five to six
Asked about the expansion plan, Minister of State for
Defence M M Pallam Raju said, "We are keen on securing borders
and we will take steps to do so. Wherever we feel there is a
threat, adequate measures will be taken."
Asked about reports that China could do a Kargil on
India, he said, "There is nothing to be particularly alarmed
about the Chinese border."
He was talking to reporters at a function in Manekshaw
Under the Army proposal, which is likely to cost over
Rs 60,000 crore, the Army has sought Government`s sanction for
raising a mountain strike corps and four mountain divisions.
The Army is also planning to deploy two independent
armoured brigades in Uttarakhand and Ladakh.
Once cleared, the proposal would be put up before the
Cabinet Committee on Security for approval and financial
Some of these additional troops would also be used for
deployment in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the Army
presently has an amphibious brigade.
The Army is planning to increase the strength there to a
division size (around 10,000 troops) and has already started
converting formations suitable for deployment in these
The modernisation and expansion plan also includes
setting up of new airstrips and helipads in remote locations
around the Chinese boundary.
After a major military infrastructure buildup by China in
its territory, India has been taking a large number of steps
to develop its own capabilities.
It has been building strategic roads along the border
with China and has deployed its supersonic BrahMos supersonic
cruise missiles in Arunachal Pradesh and the Su-30MKIs at
bases in Assam.
It has also started revamping its old air strips in
Ladakh and the Northeast for operations of both transport and
fighter aircraft from there.