June 13, 2009

Addl troops for Arunachal infrastructure: Gen Kapoor

he army chief has indirectly indicated the purpose of troop deployment plans in Arunachal Pradesh reported earlier to be secondary and in support of the purpose of building and protecting infrastructure projects in the state.
“We are carrying out a certain amount of infrastructural improvement on our side in the areas on our side to ensure the development reaches in those areas. And therefore it is part of our infrastructural development to ensure that we are in a position to meet any kind of challenges,” said General Kapoor.
StratPost had reported earlier this week, the plans of the Indian Army to deploy two divisions to Arunachal Pradesh. While the troop deployment in itself, would have necessitated the large-scale development of infrastructure, the army chief, in a bid to calm the waters has indicated infrastructure to be the priority, deeming the possible stationing of additional troops as secondary and incidental.
“As of now we have no plans of additional troop deployment immediately. We will look at it as and when the situation develops,” said the army chief. Some sources have informed StratPost that this is likely to be an attempt to play down the issue of increasing Indian Army presence in Arunachal Pradesh part of which is claimed by China as being part of Tibet and thus, part of China.
The reported plans for the two additional divisions in Arunachal had caused strong editorial reactions in China and the reports of Chinese incursions into Indian territory had elicited an adverse reaction from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. This, coupled with reports that Defense Minister AK Antony has told senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officers to refrain from making comments on China and Pakistan are also said to have led to the army chief’s portrayal of the issue being primarily one of infrastructural development and not increasing the presence of troops in the state.
The new government is however clearly seized of security concerns in the Northeast and the need to build up infrastructure in the region. The Ministry of Defense also yesterday indicated that the Border Roads Organization (BRO), the premier road and highway building and maintenance organization in the frontier regions, would begin contracting private vendors to airlift supplies and materiel to project locations in the remote, border regions of the country, where deliveries on the ground are difficult.
StratPost has already reported the deployment of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft to Tezpur air base in Assam to take place on Monday and later also to Chabua, close to Arunachal Pradesh.

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