August 19, 2017
Will it become something like western border with Pakistan – requiring constant vigil and heightened alert ? These are some issues that New Delhi is considering.
Sudhi Ranjan Sen | Posted by Bijin Jose
The India – China border, although disputed, was also perhaps the quietest border. Will it become something like western border with Pakistan – requiring constant vigil and heightened alert? These are some issues that New Delhi is considering.
Now with the Doklam stand-off continuing into the 3rd month and frequent harsh threats from China, New Delhi is examining whether the winter-posture of troops – the deployment of troops along the border in winter months – is adequate and whether, in the long run, there is a need to rejig deployment?
There are other ominous signs as well. New Delhi isn’t yet connecting the Doklam stand-off to the Pangong Tso fight, but is worried that protocols for maintaining peace along the border is under strain.
The Indian Army is examining what went wrong. At Pangong Tso, troops first came to blows and then threw stones at each other – something unprecedented.
The numbers of face-off – when Indian- Chinese patrols come face to face – that dipped last year – is now steadily rising. Till July this year the number of transgressions is about 300 as compared to only about 200 last year. It is likely to cross 500 by the end of the year.
It is as high 2014-15 when the number of transgression by the Chinese PLA was about 500. And in areas the number of soldiers in the Chinese PLA patrols is showing an upward trend. India believes it could be method to project power along border.
The “handle of escalation is with China,” sources told India Today.
WHAT IS INDIA CONSIDERING?
Top sources told India Today that the manner in which troop deployment took place may change. While no post along the LaC is vacated but freezing temperature do force a thing down on troops at places.
Often temperatures along the border in winters go down to -30 degrees celsius. This may change and the deployment levels may be as high as summer months.
Also, much of the border has to be dominated by foot-patrols. Mountain terrain, bad infrastructure prevents quick movement of troops force, India has to dominate every mountain peak and ridge line. Long range foot patrols – or soldiers marching on foot to maintain a vigil – can last between four to six weeks. “The frequency of these patrols could go up,” sources indicated.
There are roughly about 60 patrolling points along the border. These points are likely to see more patrols through the year. Over the last decade and half – beginning 2004 – the number of formations and troops deployed the border have increased manifold.
According to assessment of the Indian Army, it is largely evenly poised with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Ladakh. However, areas east of Tawang continue to be a concern. Sources said that New Delhi is looking at areas like Sinag, Debang valley and Subansari.
“Road connectivity is poor and the terrain is difficult troops cannot be moved in these areas quickly. Vigilance and monitoring of these areas will have to be higher,” sources told India Today. But given that some vulnerable areas are difficult to access, India may have no choice but strengthen the deployment.
An estimated 50,000-75,000 troops of the Indian Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police guard are deployed on the border with China.
if the border with India- China becomes any more active than it is now, it would mean that India will have to commit more troops. It would mean an additional strain and reduced time for training of the Indian forces.