China increases drills in eastern sector

Eastern Command chief says both sides ramping up infra | Troop strength marginally up

China increases drills in eastern sector

Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Manoj Pande interacts with the media at Tenga in Arunachal Pradesh. Tribune photo: Ajay Banerjee

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

Tenga (Arunachal Pradesh), Oct 19

China has increased the number of military exercises along India’s eastern sector. It has also marginally increased troops and troop habitat on its side across the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.

Eastern Command chief Lt Gen Manoj Pande said: “The annual training exercises of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) have increased. The duration of such exercises has also gone up. PLA’s reserve formulations that had moved (forward) continue to remain in position.” He said this while interacting with a group of mediapersons from Delhi.

‘India focusing on tech use’

We are maximising the use of technology, instead of increasing the number of troops along the LAC. — Lieutenant General Manoj Pande, Eastern Command Chief

“The PLA is doing more integrated exercises in its traditional training areas,” Lt Gen Pande said. “India’s Mountain Strike Corps is now fully operational. Its logistics and combat units are fully equipped. We are also looking at the integrated battle group (IBG) model for the corps. The setting up of the IBG has been approved,” the Army Commander said.

He said the idea was to maintain peace and tranquillity, besides remaining ready for any exigency.

Both sides want to improve infrastructure close to the LAC, hence there is a marginal increase in the number of border defence troops, he said.

General Pande said, “We have adequate forces in each sector, we are practising and rehearsing for various contingencies. Deployment has been strengthened in certain areas. We are maximising the use of technology, instead of increasing the number of troops along the LAC.”

The Eastern Command is adding all-terrain vehicles, counter-drone technology and precision-guided ammunition, better radio sets, radars and night-vision equipment. “On the Indian side, we are running projects and there is no disparity with China,” he added.

On Asaphila, he said there was some infrastructure development (essentially accommodation) on the Chinese side. It basically aims at accommodating more PLA troops. The number of patrols has increased marginally.

About Naku La in Sikkim, he said, “We have had faceoffs, but we have been able to resolve most of them at the tactical level and the level of local commanders.”

On Doklam, he said both sides were aware of the sensitivities and there had not been any major increase in troops, while infrastructure had remained what it was earlier.

About Siliguri corridor, he said radicalisation and separatists can prove inimical to the safety of this corridor. A joint coordination centre has been set up to tackle such challenges.

Tribune Shorts


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