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China in focus, Army’s Strike Corps units reach Ladakh as part of ‘rebalance’ strategy

Strike Corps units, which have been dual tasked with focusing on Pakistan and China, reach Ladakh amid massive deployment by China.

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New Delhi: Specialised elements of a Strike Corps have reached Ladakh and the soldiers are undergoing reorientation training and familiarisation as part of the Army’s efforts to ‘rebalance’ its deployment on the northern, western and northeastern borders.

According to sources in the defence and security establishment, various new elements from the Strike Corps have reached Ladakh, including certain artillery units with specialised firepower, armoured and mechanised columns as well as the infantry.

“This is part of the re-orientation training. This is not a permanent deployment as they will come back to their stations after some time. They will be replaced by the rest of the elements from the particular Corps. The Strike Corps will come into play when there is a need,” a source told ThePrint.

This development comes at a time when China continues to amass thousands of soldiers close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and carries on with heavy military construction activities on its territory, which is a clear indication that it is preparing itself for the long haul.

Sources noted that the next round of military talks between the two countries will be held after Kargil Vijay Diwas on 26 July. They said that China had proposed 26 July for the talks but India has sought a new date.

Also read: China revises Galwan Valley clash toll to 5, says PLA troops were ‘besieged’

New strategy for Ladakh

In April, ThePrint had reported that the Army put in place a new summer strategy for Ladakh and also implemented key changes in the Order of Battle (ORBAT).

To counter the continued deployment by China, India has retained more troops and equipment in Ladakh, besides the 3 Division, which is in charge of the LAC, and the 14 Corps Reserve.

This is in addition to the Strike Corps that will now operate in Ladakh.

In January last year, Army chief General M.M. Naravane had announced that the Army will be looking into rebalancing deployment and strategy along the borders.

As part of the efforts, a major decision taken was the dual-tasking of a Strike Corps. This means that the Strike Corps, which used to focus only on Pakistan earlier, will now have to look after China as well. China will also be its primary focus henceforth.

For this, the Strike Corps had to let go of some of its formations while retaining others.

The armoured division of the Strike Corps had also become the Army Headquarters Reserve Division as part of the new strategy.

The corps also had a new division attached to it and they specialise in mountain warfare.

Furthermore, the 17 Mountain Strike Corps (MSC), which was earlier the only Strike Corps deployed against China, also got one more division attached to it from the East. Prior to this, the 17 MSC were operating with only one division.

Sources said that key changes of this rebalance have been implemented and the focus will now be on reorientation and training of the soldiers to cater to their new task.

(Edited by Rachel John)

Also read: LoC, cameras, action — how hi-tech equipment is helping Indian Army guard the border better


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