Eye on China, India scales up military presence, to build more hospitals on eastern border
The defence ministry has shared the details of these medical projects with a parliamentary panel responsible for oversight of the ministry’s functioning.india Updated: Apr 01, 2018 07:17 IST
India is not only scaling up its military capabilities along the China border but also creating medical infrastructure at strategic locations and ramping up the capacity of hospitals in forward areas to provide better medical care to its troops, officials familiar with the move said.
Three new hospitals will be raised under the China-centric Eastern Command over the next three years with a combined capacity of 475 beds, while two medical facilities are being upgraded in Leh and Misamari (Assam), as part of an overarching plan for capacity enhancement along the Chinese border, the officials said.
The new hospitals under the Kolkata-based Eastern Command are coming up in Panagarh (West Bengal), Rangapahar (Nagaland) and Likabali (Assam).
The defence ministry has shared the details of these medical projects with a parliamentary panel responsible for oversight of the ministry’s functioning.
Having “identified voids” in healthcare for troops in forward areas, the ministry has also briefed the parliamentary standing committee on defence on its plans to set up new hospitals in eastern Ladakh (200 beds), Chungthang in Sikkim (50 beds) and Borarupak in Arunachal Pradesh (49 beds).
“With deployment of more forces along the northern borders based on threat perception, there has to be an equal emphasis on building overall capacities including health facilities,” said a top defence ministry official familiar with the plan to upgrade medical infrastructure.
India is strengthening its deployments in the eastern sector, with the raising of a new mountain strike corps at Panagarh and stationing of front-line Sukhoi-30 fighter planes and weaponised helicopters. The military has also reactivated a string of advanced landing grounds near the border, deployed supersonic cruise missiles and plans to base special operations aircraft in the eastern sector.
“Medical care has to be proportionate to the number of troops in a particular sector. Only then can we give our soldiers the requisite medical cover,” said the official cited above, requesting anonymity.
The panel has asked the ministry to keep it informed about how the new medical projects are shaping and identify more areas where healthcare voids exist.
Experts say it’s a step in the right direction.
“There’s an overall trend of forward posturing along the China border in view of evolving security environment,” said AS Lamba, a former vice chief.
“And in keeping with this posturing, our infrastructure for maintaining and sustaining troops, including medical facilities, has to be appropriately pushed forward,” Lamba added.