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Old 01-16-2012, 04:38 PM   #5

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Oct 2005
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Link FM assures army funds to create new strike corps
Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has assured army chief General VK Singh that fiscal go-ahead for creation of a new strike corps based at Pannagarh and bolstering up of defence along the 4,057 kilometre Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China will soon be accorded so that the vital matter is
taken up for approval by the Cabinet Committee for Security (CCS).

Mukherjee gave this verbal commitment when General Singh called on the finance minister after his return from Myanmar on January 9, and requested him for speedy expedition of the force and weapon accretion process so that orders could be issued for recruitment and raising two more divisions for proposed Pannagarh Corps.

Singh has met Mukherjee thrice on this issue and has written at least once to the Finance Ministry after the latter raised sundry questions on the Indian Army's threat assessment on China owing to significant financial implications involved.

Defence minister AK Antony on his part is confident that the matter would be taken up by the CCS in 2011-2012 financial year and the fiscal impact would be spread over next five years.

While China has resurrected a lean and mean PLA machine with world class infrastructure along the LAC, India is still struggling to improve its road infrastructure and force capability.

However, the Indian Army is struggling for the UPA government support to raise Pannagarh Corps, two armoured brigades in Sikkim (near Nathu La) and Ladakh (Chusul), and an additional infantry brigade in Barahoti plains in the middle sector.

The latest objections have been raised by deputy national security advisor Lt Gen (Retd) Prakash Menon, who has suggested that force accretion and resources should be equally distributed among the three services rather than only focus on the Army.

Gen Menon is learnt to be partial to India enhancing its naval capabilities to tackle China as the latter has in fact reduced number of troops in Tibet by using rapid deployment formations and has beefed up PLA Navy.

The Indian Army, on its part, has made it amply clear that it need force accretion as threat potential of a border flare-up with PLA is omnipresent till the boundary is finally demarcated by the two nations.
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