India to raise 'offensive' corps to tackle threat from China

NEW DELHI: India is raising an "offensive" corps and taking other steps to gear up its preparedness along China border to meet the challenges, defence minister A K Antony said as he pitched for a substantial hike in defence budget to meet this changing threat perception.

Terming the growing military ties between Pakistan and China as a "cause of worry", he said the armed forces have been issued a new directive to change their strategy to meet the challenges.

"Now we have given a new directive to our armed forces to meet the new challenges in context of the new threat perception faced by the country," he said. Antony said, "After analysis of the threat perception, we have found that the picture is problematic. We will need to have a second look at the defence budget.... "We have been given Rs 1.93 lakh crore this year but as per the estimated requirement of the armed forces, we would want Rs 2.39 lakh crore. We want Rs 45,716 crore more. I have asked the Government to provide us more money."

The minister was replying to a discussion on the performance of his ministry in the Rajya Sabha. On steps taken by the Government to strengthen defence capabilities, Antony said, "Under 12th Defence Plan, we have sent a proposal to Finance Ministry to raise an offensive Corps with two special divisions and it is in final stages. The force-level has been increased substantially."

He said the government had earlier approved raising of two mountain divisions along with a Special Forces battalion, an artillery brigade and an armoured regiment for deployment in the northeast sector.
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