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Updated: July 19, 2013 00:58 IST

Khurshid hails decision on mountain corps

Vinay Kumar
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External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said “In national interest, we will do whatever needs to be done at the appropriate level. We work for peace as much as for tough times.” File photo
The Hindu External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said “In national interest, we will do whatever needs to be done at the appropriate level. We work for peace as much as for tough times.” File photo

A day after the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-chaired Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave its nod to the Army’s much-awaited proposal to raise a mountain corps along the border with China in North-East, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday described it as a "pragmatic" decision.

"In national interest, we will do whatever needs to be done at the appropriate level. We work for peace as much as for tough times," Mr. Khurshid, who is also a member of the high-level CCS, said while welcoming the decision. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an art exhibition here. He added that the government takes ``steps whenever necessary."

"We live in a world which combines principles with pragmatism... we also maintain a rational, decent balance in our policies," he said.

The CCS on Wednesday approved a proposal for raising of a mountain corps that would have nearly 45,000 additional troops along the border with China at a cost of around Rs 65,000 crore that would be spread over next seven years.

Sources indicated that there could be some forward movement on raising the mountain corps within next one year. The full-fledged corps would have equipment, weapons, artillery guns, helicopters and the next lot of C-130-J Super Hercules aircraft of the IAF, used for air dropping of troops, will be stationed at Panagarh in West Bengal that is most likely to be the headquarters of the corps.

The mountain corps will have two divisions, each with 15,000 men, of the infantry specially trained in mountain warfare. Location of the two divisions would also be decided later while the forward elements like Brigades could be located in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, sources said.

The corps will have three artillery brigades, equipped with heavy guns like Bofors 155 MM as well as the ultra light howitzer which India is procuring from the US. Each of the two divisions will be allocated one artillery Brigade each while the third one will be held as reserve by the Corps. It will also have a back up mechanism of brigade of Engineers which will provide support for civil works, attend to machines and lay bridges.

Sources said that an aviation Brigade will also be part of the Corps, which will include attack and heavy lift helicopters and UAV’s for reconnaissance.

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not a good idea it shows that you are fearful of china ; think on peace
and development not on war.

from:  vishnu
Posted on: Jul 18, 2013 at 22:07 IST

This is a huge waste of public expenditure, even a million soldiers on the border will mean nothing when there is no strong policy or a strong leader. They will just wait for instructions, and we have all seen that the instructions were to raise a white flag when Chinese troops came into our land this year.
Similar thing happend during Nehru when he kept delaying the inevitable.

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Jul 18, 2013 at 19:53 IST

Well thought-out step. I really appreciate this. China is unnecessarily
showing aggressiveness of late. And I think this is in response to that.
Very good strategy.

from:  Kiran
Posted on: Jul 18, 2013 at 19:36 IST

Instead of spending another 67000 cr rupee in defense program we
should improve our relationships with our neighbors. Imagine how much
of these money will benefit people who need food, shelter, jobs etc.
We need to improve out diplomatic influence over south east Asia.
Think who is our true allies in south east Asia. No one. Our
relationship Pakistan is not good after more than 60 years of
independence even though we fought against British together. Nepal was
our allies but because of Communist government they like China more
than us. Bangladesh's alliance depend on their government. Sri lanka
is more favorable towards China because they help their government
during their civil war. So, if you look really closely there is no one
who is true alliance of India. Whereas china has spread their
influence all over the globe. They has investment all over the globe.
USA is technically now China because of amount of investment China
made there.

from:  Sasanka
Posted on: Jul 18, 2013 at 19:17 IST

I wonder, if this is the same Mr Salman Khurshid who did not think it prudent even
to raise the serious "incursion" issue with his chinese counterpart during his visit
to Beijing within days of the incident across the border, as it would have spoiled
the "cordial" environment for the visit of the Prime Minister to follow. However, it
was a different matter Dr Manmohan Singh did raise the issue on his visit with the
Chinese leaders. Now, justifying raising of the mountain strike corps by Defense
Ministry, the honorable external affairs Minister says, “We live in a world which
combines principles with pragmatism... we also maintain a rational, decent balance
in our policies.” I think, the country in general and UPA in particular would be well
off, if Mr Khurshid just keeps mum. It appears as though the ruling dispensation
seems jinxed, simply unable to find a suitable person for this important portfolio
since 2004.

from:  KS Raghunathan
Posted on: Jul 18, 2013 at 18:53 IST

We have woken up at last. Better late than never. We should have begun the process a decade ago.

from:  Gautam Sanyal
Posted on: Jul 18, 2013 at 18:12 IST
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