In a first, India tank brigades to defend China border - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

Home Top Ad


Sunday 16 September 2012

In a first, India tank brigades to defend China border

Border areas like this one, the North Sikkim plateau, will now be guarded by Indian tank formations

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 17th Sept 12

The army’s defences on the China border will get a major offensive boost with the impending deployment of two tank brigades, one each in Ladakh and north-east India. This is the first time that Indian will deploy armoured formations on the China border. Such formations, equipped with main battle tanks and BMP-II infantry combat vehicles, are traditionally used for striking into enemy territory.

Authoritative MoD sources tell Business Standard that the plan, which has been cleared by the MoD, involves raising six new armoured regiments, equipped with 348 tanks (58 tanks per regiment, including reserves). In addition, three mechanized infantry battalions will be raised, amounting to about 180 BMP-IIs.

The decision to deploy tanks to beef up India’s light, mountain infantry divisions was taken due to doctrinal changes in China’s People’s Liberation Army. The PLA has deployed armoured and motorised formations in both their military regions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as the de facto Sino-Indian border is called. According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), Lanzhou Military Region, which faces Ladakh, has 220,000 PLA troops, including an armoured division and two motorised infantry divisions (a division has three brigades). The Chengdu Military Region, opposite India’s north-eastern states, has some 180,000 PLA troops, including two armoured brigades and four motorised infantry divisions.

Now the Ladakh-based 14 Corps will be allocated an armoured brigade to cover the flat approaches from Tibet towards India’s crucial defences at Chushul. In the Sino-Indian war of 1962, six vintage AMX-13 tanks that the Indian Army had airlifted to Chushul inflicted serious losses and delay on the advancing Chinese.

The second armoured brigade will be located in the Siliguri corridor in Bengal, covering the approaches from Sikkim to the plains. One regiment will be located on the flat, 17,000-feet-high North Sikkim plateau, on which border areas are hotly disputed between China and India.

According to MoD sources, the army has demanded the purchase of additional T-90 tanks for these six armoured regiments. India has already bought 657 T-90S tanks from Russia and obtained a licence to build another 1000. Now, in addition to these purchases, the army wants the latest version of this tank, called the T-90MS.

Contacted for comments, the army has not responded.

As first reported in Business Standard, India is also raising a mountain strike corps in the northeast, consisting of two mountain divisions with about 40,000 soldiers. The addition of an armoured brigade would add real teeth to the strike corps.

The army demanded such a 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 of its choosing, capturing Chinese territory.

The north-east has already seen a vastly strengthened Indian Air Force. Sukhoi-30MKI fighters are already flying from new IAF air bases in Tezpur and Chhabua, with additional air bases coming up in Jorhat, Guwahati, Mohanbari, Bagdogra and Hashimara. Six squadrons of the indigenous anti-aircraft Akash missile will soon defend north-eastern airspace. And the IAF is modernising eight Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs), which would support offensive operations in the sector.


  1. It would be better to deploy Arjun Mk2 also there. It will be a superior armor, less costly, as well as its higher weight need not be concerned as there are no marshy lands there.
    If successful, huge number of Arjuns scattered there will certainly change the defense scenario. What's your comment Ajay sir??

  2. @Abid

    sorry to say but we cant Arjun Mk1 or Mk2 in Sikkim or Ladakh or Arunachal simply because we dont have facility to transport these 58 ton(Mk1) or 67 ton (Mk2) tanks to these areas nor we have such reinforced roads and bridges to take their weight.

    As of now the only areas Arjuns can be deployed is Rajasthan and later Punjab pending reinforced roads and bridges.

    @Ajai sir

    As you say the IA will deploy T72M or T90S in North Sikkim (the pic is somewhere near 3 finger area).

    Also i believe that during the overhaul all T90S will be upgraded to T90MS/AM

    My question is :

    1. Is it better to deploy tank destroyers like BMP T in these areas. If India goes for them these can be had with BMP T turret atop Vijayanta tanks (in reserve) or T72 tank chassis.

    2. Chinese tanks/armoured vehicles can reach border areas in far more numbers than India can even deploy due to its better infrastructure. So isnt it important to improve infrastructure especially in Sikkim than to destroy enemy tanks

    2. Irrespective of Prahaar or Pinaka being deployed in Ladakh, UTK,Sikkim, AP (as & when) dont you think it will be better to procure and deploy the smaller, lighter 6 barrel air mobile version of Smerch in these areas.

    hope to get answers on these


    Joydeep Ghosh

  3. "new airbases in Tezpur and hashimara"????
    Maybe what u meant to say was that SU-30's are now flying from Tezpur and Chabua and will soon start operating from Siliguri, Hashimara et al.
    All these bases have been operating MIG 21/23/27'S for the last 30 yrs and are in no way "new airbases"!

  4. Why it was not been guarded till now. Also we should deploy
    arjun mk2.

  5. Aksai Chin... the right candidate for... Arjun Mk II...

  6. Putting the T90 ms there is ok,but the IA should also include the Arjun mk2 to that list.

  7. Great another unproven piece of junk - the end up with years of frustration trying to solve issues with a prototype only shown in arms fairs..
    The Indian Armys procurement managers have to be the most stupid, whimsical, and stubborn (try the same thing again and again, till it works, even if it failed till date)..!!
    Why couldnt the Army just buy more Arjuns for the deserts and transfer existing T-90s to the new requirements?

  8. Start again as my last post is not here probably hold by Ajay sir or yet to clear it.

    As per report talk of Importing T 90 why, Why not buy more Arjun(factory soon become ideal after 249pc order) and relive few T 90 for high Mountains role or mix it with Arjun.

    Why no Namica for Cold place if it is failed In desert (deliberately)
    Namica could be game changer with it missile in higher reaches and can be upgraded to fight in desert later which will arrive in due course.

    Where is low cost missile.

    China's main weapon is still quantity.
    to counter this we need more firepower But SHitony has cancelled the Tatra truck order straight away causing many problem to DRDO which need it in Pinaka Prahar and Brahmos and many other applications

    TATA is trying to replace Tatra but IMHO still didn't have proper Truck to replace it.

    If thing is not sort-out soon 62repeat is imminent or worse

  9. How can the Army transfer T90s from the deserts to the Chinese border?? They dont work in the desert in the first place!!

  10. Hey Ajai,

    Here are some pics of the new J21..thought you'd like a link since you havent posted anything about this yet.

  11. Ha Ha Ha...

    Selling Deep Freezers to Eskimos....

    Are you aware what happened to earlier tank men deployed there...

    As always, they ran backwards !!

  12. What about the use of Tank-Ex against China!

  13. Our military strategy to defend the northern borders against China seems like a reaction to the Chinese deployments and formations. Doesn't this seem obvious attempt at feint. Do our military strategists really think the next surprise will come as they anticipate? Do we really know the Chinese capabilities other than those of the obviously exposed formations and deployments? I feel the Indian Army/Politicians have again lost perspective against Chinese PLA. Learn from the Japanese Imperial Army campaigns in Manchuria, how to capture Chinese territory and destroy any opposition. It would behoove our leaders (both military and political) to atleast consider perfecting the art of military deception and not allow China the benefit of initiation of conflict. Use all and every possible scenario/timings to exact revenge. Strike when/where the enemy is the most vulnerable. Learn something from Alexander, that there are no rules in warfare. Its just absolute and pure triumph as a goal of warfare. Any entry/exit criteria is all baloney.

  14. Blah, Blah, Blah! Is this all you got? What does India intend to achieve w.r.t China? Simply Arunachal Pradesh! Indeed our leaders are stupidest of em all. To give our strategist some perspective, here are some examples of victories,

    - Hitler's victory against France and stomping his foot in Paris.
    - Red Army's demolition of Berlin.
    - America's nuking of Japan and consequently its absolute surrender.

    These are defining victories which create Super-powers. Do Indian leaders have sense of the magnitude of such ventures? Probably not, hence our fidgeting with China. We are not confident of ourselves, we haven't produced a Hitler, Stalin, Kruschev, McArthur, Patton yet and we talk about Military preparedness against China which has produced Mao! What has India produced? Gandhu, Nehru, Ambedkar, VP Singh, AB Vajpayee, Rajeev, Sonia, Rahul, Lallu, Mullu, Chidambaram, Anthony, who else! Its a cast of Jokers, with the exception of Bose, Indira and Manekshaw, everyone else is a laughing stock. What can you expect with such inept leaders at the helm? First order of the day is to produce a Bose, Mao, Hitler, Stalin in India to imagine becoming a super-power.

  15. Just wanted to add a small clarification Ajai Sir...

    "The PLA has deployed armoured and motorised formations in both their military regions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as the de facto Sino-Indian border is called."

    The above is slightly misleading. It's not that the whole of the border between China & India is LAC. Only parts of the disputed border is LAC. The understanding of which differs on both sides.


  16. have motorised brigades with arjun, stryker and tank destroyers made of arjun chasis and fitted with a 105 mm gun. top it up withnamicas and antitank missiles americanjavelin, israeli spike, and russian ones . expand the brigades into divisions and have squadrons of armed choppersapaches and lch.the arjun chassis and turrets be taken in disassembled state and set up a repair and assembly factory near ladakh.smerch and pinaka battilions be spread all along the chinese border and brahmos be spaced every 300 kms . when the chinkis feel frisky launch 3 MSC INTO TIBET CHENGDU AND XINKIANG. MAKE MINCE MEAT OF THE CHINESE AND LIBERATE TWO PROVINCES

  17. Kullu is one of the most obviously magnificent knoll stations in India and kullu Manali is a humble slope town arranged in northern close of Kullu Valley. Kullu Manali are celebrated around the world summer withdraw goals. Kullu and Manali are supplement to one another

  18. We need more than anything is intelligence as said by an anonymous man above a Stalin or alike. We need a motivating leader as the resources or the number of men hardly matter as much as the man guiding them from behind. Playing the games that the foreign nations hardly knew could exist. Along with that we need counter-intelligence and counter-espionage up to the teeth. And the leader should be who has young and unbiased blood in his veins.. whose sole objective would be to lead the nation through the dark thorns it is stuck in... i would die to see a man like Bose emerge again


Recent Posts

Page 1 of 10412345...104Next >>Last