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Major strategic boost: Army enhances Northern Command allocations by 400 pc

Troops to get sophisticated weaponry, equipments

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Jan 6: In a decision aimed at strengthening the borders with Pakistan and China in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army Headquarters have enhanced allocations to Udhampur-based Northern Command by 400 per cent to enable it to purchase some of the necessary operational equipments and modernize the technology on its own without waiting for the approval.
This, official sources told the Excelsior, has been done keeping in view “urgent and immediate operational requirements’’ of the Northern Command, which mans vast portion of Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan and Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Jammu and Kashmir.
Describing four-time increase in allocations of the Northern Command as massive, sources said it was aimed at meeting requirements of the Army not only along the borders with two hostile neighbours—Pakistan and China—but also strengthen the infrastructure in the hinterland as Army was already fighting on two fronts in Jammu and Kashmir—counter infiltration attempts along the borders and militants in the internal areas.
Sources said the decision for massive increase in the Northern Command allocations has been taken by the Army Headquarters in consultations with the Defence Ministry, which was very keen on providing modernized weaponry and sophisticated equipments to the Army to keep activities of the neighbours under check and militancy under control in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said the Army Headquarters have also decided to go for immediate purchase of 50,000 bullet-proof jackets for the Army, which were immediately required in the Northern Command. Pending purchase by the Headquarters, the Northern Command can also purchase some of the jackets on its own that would strengthen the troops deployed along the borders and fighting militancy in the State.
“The Northern Command, which covers three strategic Corps—14, 15 and 16 based at Leh, Srinagar and Nagrota, is one of the most significant and strategically located Command of the Army, as it was operating on very important frontiers located in extreme tough terrains, which face hostile weather conditions quite often. While certain purchases at the level of Army Headquarters take time, the Northern Command would now be able to directly go for them,’’ sources pointed out.
Army is reportedly in the process of purchasing 50,000 bullet-proof jackets for its jawans to protect them during deployment along the borders as well as participating in anti-militancy operations especially during the targeted actions.
The Army also proposed to modernize other operational logistics, ammunition depots and go for computerization of ordnance inventory. In addition, the troops were being equipped with modernized and latest technology weapons and other equipments, which it had to install along the borders to keep strict vigil on the enemy as well as the infiltrators, who try to sneak from the LoC with Pakistan.
“Apart from the weaponry, equipments and bullet-proof jackets, the Defence Ministry was engaged in building infrastructure both along Pakistan and China borders,’’ sources said, adding  that the Ministry proposed to take road and rail networks right up to or close to the borders with both the neighbours to facilitate smooth movement of troops.
While LoC and International Border with Pakistan were easily accessible by road and rail networks, the infrastructure along LAC with China in Ladakh sector of Jammu and Kashmir has been poor as previous Governments hadn’t paid any focus towards this sector. However, the present Government has taken a series of measures to increase infrastructure capability of India along LAC with China, which have started yielding results. A series of more measures were also in the offing, sources said.
In significance, the Army attached to the Northern Command could also be gauged from the fact that new Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat visited the command within five days of taking over the charge. This was first visit of Gen Rawat to any Command after taking over as the Army chief. He had reviewed the situation along frontiers with Pakistan and China with Northern Army commander Lt Gen Devraj Anbu.

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