The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved a Rs 64,000-crore (approximately $13 billion) military modernization plan that would include raising four new divisions along withIndia-China border. Two of these would be part of a Mountain strike corps dedicated to offensive operations. The plan also includes raising two independent brigades, one in Ladakh and the other in Uttarakhand. Faceing with growing Chinese military presence along the border and other complex security challenges in the region, the government is planning to increase the strength of the Indian Army by almost one lakh soldiers over the next five years. Two weeks ago, MoD sent its plan to the finance ministry for scrutiny and approval, authoritative sources said. Once cleared, the proposal would be put up before the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval and financial sanction.
A senior MoD source said that while the proposal was focused on the India-China border, some military expansion is planned in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. At present, the army has just a brigade of soldiers in the islands. This is expected to be stepped up to the strength of a division. There are also plans to increase air force and naval capabilities in Andaman and Nicobar as well as along the China border. Under the proposal, the army will induct 90,000 more soldiers over the next five years during the 12th five-year plan period from 2012 to 2017 all of them for deployment along the China border. In the 11th Plan, the army’s strength was augmented by 36,000 for two new divisions. Sources said the projected expansion budget of Rs 64,000crore includes the cost of new helipads and air strips and also last-mile road linkages. It would also include the cost of implementing new concepts of military transformation, which are now being tested, including the capability to operate in smaller units and providing logistics in an integrated manner.