In eastern sector, Indian Army reorients forces in sharpened focus on LAC | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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In eastern sector, Indian Army reorients forces in sharpened focus on LAC

ByRahul Singh
Sep 07, 2022 09:15 PM IST

The Indian Army is strengthening its posture in the country’s east at a time when India and China have been locked in a tense standoff in the Ladakh sector since May 2020

DINJAN (ASSAM): The Indian Army, which has focused on counter-insurgency operations in the North-east for decades, has carried out an overarching reorientation of its forces to sharpen its focus on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern sector, even as induction of new weapons and systems, capability building and a strong infrastructure push form the bedrock of its strategy to counter challenges along the border with China, officials familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The army is firmly focused on the LAC in the eastern sector and now has bare minimum involvement in counter-insurgency operations(ANI File Photo)
The army is firmly focused on the LAC in the eastern sector and now has bare minimum involvement in counter-insurgency operations(ANI File Photo)

The army is strengthening its posture in the country’s east at a time when India and China have been locked in a tense standoff in the Ladakh sector since May 2020, with resolution of problems there appearing to be elusive despite intense military and diplomatic negotiations.

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The army is firmly focused on the LAC here and now has bare minimum involvement in counter-insurgency operations , with a multi-pronged strategy for capabilty enhancement through induction of new systems, technologies and extensive infrastructure development, said Major General MS Bains, a decorated Special Forces officer and commander of the army’s Dinjan-Headquartered 2 Mountain Division.

The reorientation towards conventional combat began around two years ago, and has been completed, with only one army formation - the Laipuli-headquartered 73 Mountain Brigade - deployed for counter-insurgency operations, said a second official cited in the first instance, asking not to be named. “The security situation in the North-east has improved significantly. That has lightened the army’s burden and allowed it to focus fully on the border with China,” he said.

A Cheetah and an advanced light helicopter (right) at the army’s Dinjan base in Assam on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
A Cheetah and an advanced light helicopter (right) at the army’s Dinjan base in Assam on Wednesday. (HT Photo)

To be sure, the army has also realigned the operational role of its formations to bolster its war-fighting capabilities in the Ladakh theatre - the Mathura-headquartered 1 Corps has been reassigned to the northern borders where despite disengagement of soldiers from Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and Gogra-Hot Springs area, the two armies still have around 60,000 troops each and advanced weaponry deployed there.

While the standoff is ongoing in eastern Ladakh, the eastern sector cannot be ignored, said former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd). “Particularly in certain areas of Arunachal Pradesh, the road infrastructure is still inadequate. The push now being given to capability building and infrastructure will be a deterrent for any action by the PLA in this sector,” Hooda added.

The infrastructure push encompasses building of roads, bridges, helipads, habitat for soldiers, ammunition holding areas and other logistics facities to support forward-deployed soldiers, said a second official, who also asked not to be named.

“The army has set deadlines for capability development in the eastern sector to achieve functional efficiency,” said Bains.

The army has deployed several modern weapons, ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems, high-tech sensors and radars, unmanned aerial vehilces and modern communication equipment in the eastern sector, the officials said.

Calls for reorientation of forces towards conventional combat were made long before the current border standoff erupted.

Several parliamentary panels have made recommendations in their reports over the years to reduce the army’s exposure to counter-insurgency and counterterrorism duties because it results in blunting the force’s focus on its main task - defending the country from external aggression.

Brigadier KS Gill, commander, Headquarters 73 Mountain Brigade, said while his brigade has been assigned counter-insurgency duties, there’s no question of not training for a conventional war.

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