But admits that there is still inadequacy in infrastructure along China border

Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Monday said inadequacies in India’s infrastructure development along the China border the country had developed enough capability to ensure that the “history of 1962 shall not happen again”.

Speaking on the eve of Army Day, General Singh outlined the concerns of the force saying “there is inadequacy at the moment” pertaining to infrastructure but plans are afoot to overcome these. In 2010, a sum of over Rs 9,200 crore was sanctioned for this head and the Cabinet Committee on Security had also planned Rs 28,000 crore worth of investment in the area.

“Road and rail lines have been identified but there have been slippages in timeline. We thus need more focused commitment. The Government is seized of the problem and there is a proposal to outsource the roads to renowned players and enhance the capability of the Border Roads Organisation.”

For enhancing vigil on the China border, General Singh said the Mountain Strike Corps has been raised. Noting that 22 major and minor units have been commended to the various centres, he said it is part of a well thought out strategy. “The asset is nor for war raging, but for war prevention”.

Referring to the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement which was signed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited China in October 2013, he said this mechanism has provided “additional lines at the theatre level for providing military-to-military cooperation”.

As for the joint exercises in the hinterland, the General said they are going to strengthen understanding between the two nations at the Line of Actual Control, Army Headquarters and government level.

On some intrusion Indian territory by Chinese troops, General Singh said two of the incidents got “hyped up”. He said in almost all the cases of intrusion, the jawans responded like a professional Army. “We do not issue statements in the media – so often there is some speculation. But we have maintained the sanctity of the LAC.”

On the capability gap between China and India, the Army chief said the country is not complacent about it. “We are moving ahead as per a roadmap.”

He said in 2010, a sum of over Rs 9,200 crore was sanctioned for this head and the Cabinet Committee on Security had also planned Rs 28,000 crore worth of investment in the area.

“Road and rail lines have been identified but there have been slippages in timeline. We thus need more focused commitment. The Government is seized of the problem and there is a proposal to outsource the roads to renowned players and enhance the capability of the Border Roads Organisation.”

For enhancing vigil on the China border, General Singh said the Mountain Strike Corps has been raised. Noting that 22 major and minor units have been commended to the various centres, he said it is part of a well thought out strategy. But while the budgetary support remained a matter of concern, he said the gestation period for it would be two to three years. However, he discounted any talk of aggressive posturing saying “the asset is nor for war raging, but for war prevention”.

On the modernization and capital investment in the force, General Singh said the system of acquisitions has been honed to ensure that the timelines are met.

In the current fiscal, he said, already 17 contracts worth nearly Rs 11,777 crore have been signed and another 23 worth Rs 12,000 are in the pipeline.

Accepting that financial constraints were coming in the way of the modernization of the force and much of the budget is spent on the revenue expenditure, General Singh defended this on the ground that India’s is a “boot centric” army with a strength of nearly 1.2 million.

The General said a pragmatic roadmap has been suggested by the Defence Minister and the army would be maintaining three years’ training ammunition by 2015.

On the raising of the Space, Cyber Space and Special Forces commands, the General said these are all tri-service commands and the funds for these are under the process of allocation. But overall, he said, “everything is conditional on the fiscal position of the country.”

The Army chief said the force is also looking at enhancing opportunities for the woman officers in the force and a presentation on their permanent commission in the force would be made to the Defence Minister on January 16.\

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