India plans US$1bn mountain strike corps to counter China

India is building a new 62-billion-rupee (US$1.02 billion) mountain strike corps to counter China along the China-India border in the northeastern part of the country, according to a report from the New Delhi-based Hindustan Times.

The report said General Dalbir Singh Suhag, Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army, is set to visit the Kolkata-based Eastern Command before the end of the month to track the progress of the new 17 Corps, which is being set up to counter China’s reconnaissance and intelligence along the 4,057-kilometer Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries. The corps is likely to be operational by 2022, the report said, adding that it is expected to reduce China’s combat power advantage over India from the current ratio of 3:1 to 2.1:1.

Singh, who recently completed a tour along the the disputed LAC in the sensitive Ladakh area of India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, has also served as an inspector general in a covert China-centric unit comprising Tibetan soldiers called the Special Frontier Force, the report added.

Additionally, India is seeking greater opportunities for defense cooperation with the US in the development and production of modern weapons systems, the report said, though plans to buy 145 BAE Systems M777 ultra-light howitzers from the US for the 17 Corps have stagnated due to the high cost.

The Indian media reports were published shortly before new claims that Chinese troops crossed what New Delhi perceived to be its side of the LAC before entering 25-30km deep into in Burtse area of north Ladakh on Sunday. India reportedly despatched a quick reaction team to the site but the Chinese troops refused to budge. A spokesperson from the Indian army downplayed the incident by saying that there are areas along the border where India and China have differing perceptions of the LAC.

Full article: India plans US$1bn mountain strike corps to counter China (Want China Times)

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