New Delhi: India’s plans to recruit 100,000 soldiers over the next five years and deploy them on the Indo-China border to strengthen its defence mechanism has clearly annoyed China, which says New Delhi’s troop buildup will go nowhere.
As per a report published in a leading Chinese daily, the Communist state thinks that India’s military buildup will only aggravate tensions between the two countries. The reaction from the Chinese side came nearly two weeks after the Defense Ministry here approved a USD 13 billion military modernization plan.
Against the backdrop of Chinese military buildup along the international border, the Army recently 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.
Army's present strength is more than 11 lakh troops including over 35,000 officers. As per reports, the increase in the number of troops will be done in a phased manner over a period of more than five to six years.
Asked about the expansion plan, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju had 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.”
When quizzed about reports that China could do a Kargil on India, he said, “There is nothing to be particularly alarmed about the Chinese border.” He said this while talking to reporters at a function in Manekshaw Centre recently.
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 sanction.
The average growth rate of India's military spending has stood at 7 percent to 8 percent for more than a decade, and its military spending ranks ninth in the world. India is also the world's largest arms importer.
“Despite India’s huge military spending, its economic growth has recently been slow, with last year’s economic growth rate hitting a six-year low. It is very difficult to considerably increase military spending for military buildup amid the economic downturn, so India needs to first create a tense atmosphere and transfer domestic problems in hopes of securing more military spending,” the Chinese media was quoted as saying.
The Chinese media further alleges that India continues to hold joint military drills with China's neighboring states, which shows its intention to confront China.
First Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 13:33