GUWAHATI, June 8 - India�s defence preparedness has improved considerably in the last few years and the country is now ready to face any eventuality. However, there is need for expediting the pace of infrastructure development in the eastern sector to face any threat from China, said highly placed security sources.
Security sources told The Assam Tribune that the committee of experts constituted by the Government to suggest measures for defence modernization and rebalancing defence budget, headed by Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar had also recommended augmenting infrastructure along the international border to face any possible threat from China.
Sources pointed out that in the last few years, defence preparedness improved considerably and Sukhoi squadrons have been deployed in the North East region, while, a decision has been taken to deploy a Rafale fighter jet squadron in this part of the country. Two new divisions of the Army have been created while, troops of the strike corps have also been deployed in the North East so that they can move to the international borders within a short time.
Sources said that the pace of infrastructure development increased in the last seven to eight years and helipads have been created in advanced locations closer to the international border to facilitate movement of troops and materials.
The decision of the Government to manufacture arms and ammunition as well as other defence materials locally was another positive development as in the past, there were instances where the manufacturing countries increased prices abnormally whenever India needed those within a short time.
Sources said that the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff was a very positive development to augment defence preparedness of the country and the committee of experts also suggested it. Sources pointed out that the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff would improve coordination between the armed forces. In the Kargil war, the use of Air Force was delayed as separate permission had to be taken from the Government. But with the Chief of Defence Staff in overall control, such delays can be overcome and all the forces will be able to work in close coordination to thwart any challenge.
However, at the same time, sources pointed out that pace of construction of roads leading to the international border should be increased as soon as possible. Giving one example, sources said that at present, there is only one major road leading to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and if that road is blocked due to landslide or some other reason, it would seriously affect movement of troops in case of an emergency. There is also need for construction of lateral roads to reach every point of the McMahon Line, sources pointed out.
When pointed out that the international border in Arunachal Pradesh was by and large peaceful for years, sources said that as there are vulnerable points along the border, India should always be prepared. There have been instances of cross border intrusions in this area also and in most cases, the issues were settled amicably. The only major standoff faced by the Indian Army in this part was during the Kargil war when Chinese troops tried to intrude into Indian territory through the Yangtse area, which resulted in a long standoff. The Army personnel of both sides stood face to face but �Indian Army personnel stood firm and later the Chinese retreated.�