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

With China's "assertive" behaviour showing no signs of abating, Indiais fast-tracking new troop formations for the North-East. Apart fromthe two new infantry divisions, this includes the interestingexperiment of new Arunachal and Sikkim Scouts battalions.

Defence ministry officials said the two fresh infantry mountaindivisions, 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 May2011. 

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

"The two divisions are now virtually in place, with officers andsoldiers already being posted for them. They are in process of gettingnew equipment, which includes armoured personnel carriers and lighthowitzers," said an official.

While this conventional troop-building continues, the experiment ofArunachal Scouts is also underway with the training of its firstbattalion beginning at Assam Regimental Centre at Shillong earlier thismonth.

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