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To keep eye on China, Indian Army shifts Mountain Strike Corps’ headquarters from Jharkhand to West Bengal

A file photograph. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 28, 2019, 05.24 PM (IST) Written By: Pooja Mehta

In the backdrop of Pakistan’s intrusion into the Indian air space on Wednesday, the Indian Army has decided to shift the headquarters of Mountain Strike Corps from Ranchi to Panagarh in West Bengal to keep a close watch on China.

The XVII Mountain Strike Corps also known as the Brahmastra Corps is a China-specific Strike Corps considering its location having a close proximity with China. The creation of the Corps was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security in 2013 and was to have close to 90,000 troops. But, the work to raise the Mountain Strike Corps slowed due to fund constraints.

However, the headquarters of the Mountain Strike Corps is being shifted from Ranchi to its original place – Panagarh in West Bengal to keep a watch on Pakistan’s ally: China and strengthen the North-Eastern borders in the present day scenario.

On Wednesday, the Eastern Army Commander General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Lieutenant General MM Naravane visited and met the General Officer Commanding (Brahmastra Corps) Lt Gen P. N. Rao.

He checked the operational preparedness and took stock of the situation at Panagarh.

“Eastern Command Army commander visited Panagarh Military Station on Wednesday. He was received by Lieutenant General P N Rao, GOC, Brahmastra Corps. The Corps which was raised at Ranchi will shortly be shifting to Panagarh. The Army Commander reviewed the security situation and operational preparedness of the formation. He emphasised the need for remaining ready at all times to meet the emerging security challenges. The GOC-in-C also interacted with the troops and appreciated their continued efforts in developing the military station," said a statement from the Eastern Command.

The country’s first Mountain Strike Corps has several infantry and armoured battalions, artillery and aviation wing. The unit at Panagarh, has a team of Special Forces skilled in para-dropping and lifting. They can be deployed in a war-like situation in the dark without the enemy getting to know of it.

Significantly, the Panagarh Air Force Station houses the second squadron of the C-130J Super Hercules after the Hindon Air Base. It would take less than 60 minutes to reach the Chinese border or the LAC when airborne from the Panagarh AFS.

The C-130J can land on unpaved surfaces, short airstrips, advanced landing grounds (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh like Tuting, Mechuka, Ziro, Aalo, Pasighat, Walong, Tawang and Vijaynagar closer to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with troops and materials.  

It can also para-drop special forces - known for their speed and stealth - and move faster with equipment and good and return to the base quickly to dispatch the next team.

Story highlights

The country’s first Mountain Strike Corps has several infantry and armoured battalions, artillery and aviation wing.