Military upgrade on border lags Chinese modernisation.
India will only be making incremental improvement in its military infrastructure along the border with China, even as its most ambitious plan for dealing with the neighbour’s military prowess is stuck due to a resource crunch.
Military officers call India’s China strategy “timid” and in no way matching the aggressive modernisation by the communist neighbour of its border capabilities and overhaul of its military structure. “The momentum is lost,” a senior officer said, on the adverse impact of lack of resources for the military infrastructure upgrade along the border.
The Indian Air Force, which re-launched two upgraded Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) on Saturday in Arunachal Pradesh, will upgrade six more of those World War II vintage strips in the border State. The entire project, approved in 2009 and budgeted at about Rs.1,000 crore, has been inching ahead to provide better logistical access for airdropping troops and equipment in forward areas.
The IAF has upgraded three of the ALGs with paved runway surfaces and facilities such as aprons for ground manouevring, air traffic control towers etc. It says the new runway surfaces and other infrastructure are at par with any other modern airfield in the country. Three more ALGs — Mechuka, Pasighat, Tuting — are scheduled to be inaugurated in the next three months.
“Those are good moves, but not good enough,” a senior military officer dealing with the China border says, pointing out that these are incremental but not enough to catch up with the Chinese modernisation and threat from across the border.