Indian plans to deploy tank brigades along Sino

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2012-09-18 02:36:02 GMT2012-09-18 10:36:02(Beijing Time)  SINA English

By Yu Runze, Sina English

Indian army stationed along the Sino-Indian border will get a major offensive boost with the impending deployment of two tank brigades, one in Ladakh and the other in north-east India.

This is the first time that India will deploy armored formations on the Sino-Indian border. Such formations, equipped with main battle tanks and BMP-II infantry combat vehicles, are traditionally used for striking into enemy territory.

Authoritative MoD (Ministry of Defence) sources tell the reporter that the plan, cleared by the MoD, involves raising six new armored regiments, equipped with 348 tanks (58 tanks per regiment, including reserves). In addition, three mechanized infantry battalions will be raised, amounting to about 1200 BMP-IIs.

The decision to deploy tanks to beef up India’s light, mountain infantry divisions was taken due to some changes in China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Lanzhou Military Region, which faces Ladakh, has 220,000 troops, including an armored division and two motorized infantry divisions. The Chengdu Military Region, opposite India’s north-eastern states, has some 1200,000 PLA troops, including two armored brigades and four motorized infantry divisions.

The army demanded such capability because China’s infrastructure build-up in Tibet allows it to rapidly concentrate forces in a sector, overwhelming the Indian defenders there. If China manages to capture a chunk of territory, India will no longer be forced into bloody, Kargil-style counter-attacks to recapture it. Instead, an Indian strike corps could launch an offensive in an area that it has selected to capture the Chinese land, said Indian media.

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