The T-90S, the Indian Army's main battle tank. (Photo/Indian defense ministry)
Two armored brigades of the Indian Army equipped with T-90 tanks and BMP-II infantry combat vehicles will be deployed to Ladakh and northeast India near the Chinese border against any potential attack from the People's Liberation Army, reports the Business Standard based in New Delhi.
The newspaper reported that this is the first time for the Indian Army to deploy armored formations on the Chinese border. Source within the Indian defense ministry said that about six new armored regiments with 348 tanks will be deployed, together with 180 Russian-built BMP-II armored vehicles with the ability to strike into Chinese territory if necessary.
The decision is in response to the deployment of 220,000 Chinese troops, including an armored division and two motorized infantry divisions to the Lanzhou Military Region facing Ladakh, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies based in India. The Indian 14th Corps stationed at Ladakh will be reinforced with an armored brigade to cover the flat approaches from Tibet towards Chushul. During the border conflict between China and India in 1962, six vintage AMX-13 tanks which were airlifted to Chushul inflicted serious casualties on the advancing People's Liberation Army.
For the new regiments, the Indian army has asked Russia for more advanced T-90MS tanks. India currently has 657 T-90S tanks. Under license from Russia, India is able to construct 1,000 of the tanks domestically.
The army will also enforce its mountain strike corps on the northeastern border with an armored brigade. The mountain strike corps consists of two mountain divisions with nearly 40,000 soldiers.
If the PLA were to launch a strike to capture territory from India, the new strategy of the Indian Army is no longer to fight a defensive war but rather to counterattack and capture Chinese territory. The Indian Air Force has also deployed Su-30MKI fighters to bases at Tezpur and Chhabua in the northeast. Additional airfields have also been established at Jorhat, Guwahati, Mohanbari, Bagdogra and Hashimara.