India Fast-Tracking New Troop Formations In North-East For China

With China’s “assertive” behaviour showing no signs of abating, India
is fast-tracking new troop formations for the North-East. Apart from
the two new infantry divisions, this includes the interesting
experiment of new Arunachal and Sikkim Scouts battalions.

Defence ministry officials said the two fresh infantry mountain
divisions, with 1,260 officers and 35,011 soldiers, should be
“fully-operational with specialised equipment” by next year. Similarly,
the first battalion of Arunachal Scouts will be up and running by May
2011. 

While the new 56 Division has its HQ in Zakama (Nagaland) under the
Dimapur-based 3 Corps, the 71 Division at Missamari (Assam) falls in
the operational command of the Tezpur-based 4 Corps. Both the new
formations are primarily tasked with the defence of Arunachal Pradesh.

“The two divisions are now virtually in place, with officers and
soldiers already being posted for them. They are in process of getting
new equipment, which includes armoured personnel carriers and light
howitzers,” said an official.

While this conventional troop-building continues, the experiment of
Arunachal Scouts is also underway with the training of its first
battalion beginning at Assam Regimental Centre at Shillong earlier this
month.