India, which had a military standoff with China in April, proposes to boost its troop strength along the two countries’ disputed border, Press Trust of India reported, citing people it didn’t identify.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared a plan yesterday at a cabinet meeting to create a corps, including the deployment of an additional 50,000 troops at a cost of 650 billion rupees ($10.9 billion), the news agency reported late yesterday. The Indian Air Force will deploy mid-air refueling tankers and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT).-built C-130J Hercules aircraft in the corps headquarters at Panagarh in the state of West Bengal, according to PTI.
Sitanshu Kar, the spokesman at the Defense Ministry in New Delhi, didn’t answer two calls to his mobile phone.
The potential for conflict along the Himalayan frontier, scene of a brief 1962 war, was highlighted in April as India alleged Chinese troops had crossed into Indian-held territory in Ladakh in northern India, triggering a three-week confrontation that ended with an agreement negotiated by army commanders.
India accuses China of occupying 38,000 square kilometers of territory in Jammu and Kashmir, while the government in Beijing lays claim to 90,000 square kilometers of land in Arunachal Pradesh, a state in India’s northeast. More than a dozen rounds of talks have failed to resolve the dispute.
Military relations between the two countries were suspended in August 2010 after China issued a visa to an Indian army officer in charge of forces in Kashmir without stamping his passport, an act seen as questioning India’s rule over the disputed Himalayan territory. China has a close alliance with Pakistan, which has waged two wars with India over Kashmir.
China opposes Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who campaigns for Tibetan autonomy and human rights from exile in northern India.
Leaders of both countries have sought to raise bilateral trade and investment as discussions on a formal border pact continue. India and China, home to more than a third of the world’s people, have vowed to raise commerce to $100 billion by 2015, from Indian Commerce Ministry estimates of $75.6 billion in the year to March 31, 2012.
By ensuring an amicable relationship, China and India will provide “new engines for the world economy,” Premier Li Keqiang said during a visit to the Indian capital in May.
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