Saturday, July 3, 2010
Indian Army plans new force to counter China
Almost 50 years after the Chinese aggression, the Indian army is finally looking to set up its own rapid reaction force (RRF) at its border in the northeast.
The Chinese army already has 23 RRFs.
India has nine mountain divisions to counter China, but has no RRF — elite units that can be mobilised quickly. The plan for setting them up was drawn up by the military operations directorate and sent to certain formations for discussions and feasibility study.
A source told DNA, “It’s still not clear whether existing brigades will be converted into RRFs or new ones will be raised. Several things are to be considered before such a step is taken. There is a shortage of officers and the northeast does not have the infrastructure for this kind of thing.
Besides, it needs to be discussed whether it will be feasible to build an RRF and in what time that could be done.”
The army’s RRF plan includes a battalion of engineers and doctors. One way of raising the force is to take in troops who are not engaged at the borders.
The 23 RRFs in China have been trained to react quickly to limited border conflicts and can reach anywhere in the country within seven days.
They know how to operate modern equipment and communication systems. China’s RRFs are self-contained and can engage in direct combat. The force was raised after the PLA thought a capability-driven force would be better than one big in numbers.
Infrastructure is crucial to the functioning of the RRF, since better infrastructure means lesser travel time and lesser mobilisation time, consequently quicker reaction.
Perhaps that is the reason the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is in the process of coming up with roads and other structures in the northeast.
They have been given Rs2,000 crore to re-activate advanced landing grounds in the northeast and Ladakh for the Indian Air Force’s aircraft.
There is a likelihood that the C-130J Super Hercules. that is likely to come from the US, would be based in the northeast. The first batch of these would be inducted into the IAF in February 2011.