New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today gave the much-awaited clearance for raising a Mountain Strike Corps.
The formation will comprise 40,000 additional soldiers to counter China's military strength, sources said. It will cost Rs 64,000 crore, to be spent over a seven year period, and will empower India's military with an offensive capability against China, so far been missing from its armoury.
The Strike Corps will be headquartered at Panagarh in West Bengal.
Apart from two more mountain divisions, the Strike Corps will have an independent armoured brigade, an artillery brigade.
The Indian Air Force or IAF too will deploy its newly-acquired medium lift C-130 J Hercules Transport Aircraft designed for aiding special operations.
India already has three Strike Corps: 1 Corps is based in Mathura, 2 Corps in Ambala and 21 Corps is in Bhopal. However, all of them are ranged against Pakistan and are equipped for desert and plains warfare.
The planned expansion of military capacity is first such addition since 2009 when India decided to raise two mountain divisions in the north-east.
Each division with 15,000 soldiers is now fully formed and functional at Lekhapani and Missamari in Assam, at the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh.