‘We work for peace as much as for tough times'
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 the north-east, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid described it as a “pragmatic” decision.
“In the 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 CCS, told reporters on the sidelines of an art exhibition here on Thursday.
“The government takes steps whenever necessary,” he added.
He said “We live in a world which combines principles with pragmatism... we also maintain a rational, decent balance in our policies.”
Under the proposal the Army will 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 the next seven years.
Informed sources indicated that there could be some forward movement on raising the corps, within the next one year. The full-fledged corps will 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. It will be stationed at Panagarh in West Bengal that is most likely to be the headquarters of the corps.
It will have two divisions, each with 15,000 men, of the infantry specially trained in mountain warfare. Location of the divisions will be decided later.