Largest expansion of Indian Army in the offing

China India borderBEIJING: In a significant move, India plans to recruit and deploy another 100,000 troops along the disputed borders with China and the Chinese southwestern Tibet.

The troop increase will come over the next five years, as part of a $13 billion modernization programme that will mark the largest expansion of the Indian army throughout the sub-continental country’s 60-year history, a Chinese scholar has reported in state media.Earlier this month, New Delhi gave the green light for the Indian military to deploy Brahmos cruise missiles south of Tibet in India’s first tactical missile deployment targeting China, according to the Indian media.

This is, many observers see, awfully disrupting the volatile tranquillity along the China-India border.“India needs pause when driving East,” an article by Li Hongmei said. India is now afoot to give a major impetus to its Look East policy, when it kicked start a flurry of diplomatic activities with Southeast Asian countries in the last two months, and, of late, with Japan.

High on New Delhi’s agenda is scaling up economic, energy and strategic ties with these countries, as it deems its diplomatic ideologies in the region are broadly similar to theirs—they all expect to find each other and boost relationship in the context of a rising China and its growing regional influence.India and Vietnam agreed in September to jointly explore oil resources in the South China Sea, despite China’s indisposition and amid strains in their ties with China. Early in October, India and Afghanistan declared the establishment of strategic and cooperative partnership between them. Recently, India signed defence pacts respectively with China’s neighbouring Vietnam and Myanmar.

The intensification of defence cooperation will also be high on the agenda of India, as it expects China’s small neighbours would rather look to it to balance what is said China’s increased assertiveness in the region, and view it as an increasingly important player in evolving an “inclusive regional architecture” in Asia.That also explains why New Delhi is interested in selling to Vietnam the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, an Indo-Russian joint venture. India has already been assisting Hanoi in bolstering its naval and air force capabilities.Vietnam has allowed India access to the Nha Trang Port, which is situated close to the strategic Cam Ranh Bay. – APP