Rais­ing New For­ma­tions

The pro­posal of a new corps, in­clud­ing two in­de­pen­dent in­fantry and two ar­moured bri­gades, would to­gether cost around ` 81,000 crore, spread pri­mar­ily over the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17) pe­riod, with some spill over into the Thir­teenth Plan


AMOUN­TAIN STRIKE CORPS (MSC) for the eastern theatre has been in the news now for some time. The Cabi­net ap­proval for the same was re­ported some time ago. The lat­est ref­er­ence about this strike corps was made in the first and sec­ond week of Fe­bru­ary 2013 when it was men­tioned that apart from the strike corps for the moun­tains, the Army also de­sired to raise two in­de­pen­dent in­fantry bri­gades and two in­de­pen­dent ar­moured bri­gades.

It seems that the pro­posal was first mooted in 2010 and given in-prin­ci­ple clear­ance by the govern­ment in 2011.The plan in­volved re­cruit­ing of over 80,000 soldiers and nearly 500 of­fi­cers to man the strike corps, an of­fen­sive for­ma­tion, to counter China’s grow­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties across the bor­der in Ti­bet. It was then es­ti­mated that the new corps would cost about

65,000 crore. In­dia has no strike corps for the moun­tains whereas for the western bor­der, In­dia has three strike corps, which are trained and equipped for of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions against Pak­istan, in plains, semi-desert and desert ter­rain. The head­quar­ters of th­ese three strike corps are lo­cated at Mathura, Am­bala and Bhopal re­spec­tively, with the for­ma­tions spread in Pun­jab, Haryana and Ra­jasthan.

It was also re­ported in the me­dia that the rais­ing of the new for­ma­tions, in­clud­ing two in­de­pen­dent in­fantry and two ar­moured bri­gades would to­gether cost about 81,000 crore, spread pri­mar­ily over the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17) pe­riod, with some spill over into the Thir­teenth Plan.

The Fi­nance Min­istry and the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice (PMO) ini­tially had raised their ob­jec­tions to such huge in­vest­ments. The PMO had sent back the pro­posal to the De­fence Min­istry and had asked for a com­pre­hen­sive joint pro­posal. The Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee had tasked the Head­quar­ter In­te­grated De­fence Staff to come up with a re­vised draft for the moun­tain strike corps which seems to have now been ap­proved. The pro­posal has now been given a fi­nal shape. This in­cludes the rais­ing of the corps which im­plies rais­ing of three more in­fantry di­vi­sions (20,000 soldiers each), com­plete with tac­ti­cal air­lift ca­pa­bil­ity and armed with nec­es­sary ar­moured reg­i­ments and ar­tillery com­po­nents. The In­dian Air Force (IAF) has also pro­jected its re­quire­ment in this plan. It in­cludes de­ploy­ment of the C-130J Her­cules air­craft meant for spe­cial op­er­a­tions like para-drop­ping.

It has been re­ported in the me­dia that the MSC is to be lo­cated in the eastern theatre, with its head­quar­ters at Pana­garh. The in­de­pen­dent in­fantry and ar­moured bri­gades would have mul­ti­ple con­tin­gen­cies for em­ploy­ment in Ladakh and in the eastern theatre.

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