The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Anil Chauhan, visited the forward areas in North Bengal over the weekend, to review the Armed force’s operational preparedness in the Chicken neck corridor of Sikkim.
The Indian And Chinese troops have been locked in a border standoff along the entire Line of Actual Control (LAC) since May 2020.
General Chauhan visited Hashimara Air Base in Bengal, where IAF has deployed its newest fighter jet — Dassault Rafale. He also visited the headquarters of the 33 ‘Trishakti’ Corps at Sukna.
Earlier (in 2017), the Chinese and Indian forces were locked in a two-month-long standoff at the tri-junction of the border between India, China and Bhutan.
During the two-month-long crisis, the Chinese attempted to construct a road in the Bhutanese territory of Doklam. The Indian Army then crossed over to the Bhutanese territory and forced the Chinese to stop the construction.
The construction of the road at the Doklam plateau would have allowed the Chinese to get closer to the Jampheri ridge, from where the Siliguri Corridor in the state of Sikkim would have been threatened.
Sensing the urgency and the rapidly changing tactical situation, the Indian government has taken multiple steps to deter any Chinese aggression in the 'chicken's neck' area or the Siliguri Corridor in Sikkim.
Here is a list of five major offensive and defensive equipments inducted in the region by the government.
1. BrahMos Missile
The BrahMos is a supersonic land attack cruise missile, which India jointly manufactures with Russia. The missile has a maximum speed of 2.9 Mach and can destroy enemy targets at ranges of more than 290 kilometres.
India has developed BrahMos air-launched variants as well — Brahmos-A — which have a range of more than 400 kilometres and is carried by the IAF's Sukhoi Su-30 MKI's.
Indian Army has deployed a regiment of BrahMos missiles in the chicken neck area to deter the Chinese from conducting any military misadventure.
2. Dassault Rafale Fighter Jets
In further strengthening of the offensive posture, the Indian Air Force has also inducted a squadron of 18 French Rafale jets at the Hashimara Air Base in the northern Bengal region.
Dassault Rafales is a multi-role fighter jet which can perform air defence, air interdiction and strike roles for the Air Force.
India bought 36 jets from France in 2016, at a cost of more than $9 billion. The Rafales, along with BrahMos land-attack cruise missiles, provide a formidable offensive punch to the IAF.
3. S-400 Surface-To-Air Missile System
The S-400 SAM is a surface-to-air missile system which can defeat enemy fighter jets, cruise, and ballistic missiles from ranges exceeding 400 kilometres. India has bought five regiments of this system from Russia — worth more than $5 billion.
Russia has delivered three regiments to the IAF so far. The first regiment was deployed in the Punjab region, to cover the western borders against Pakistan and the Northern borders against China.
The second regiment was reportedly deployed in the chicken's neck area in the Siliguri corridor, to deny access in Indian Air space to Chinese fighter jets.
4. Abhra Medium Range Surface-To-Air Missile System (MRSAM)
The Abhra SAM is an air-defence system that India's DRDO jointly developed with Israel. The SAM could defeat aerial targets from ranges above 70 kilometres.
The system is also known as MRSAM in Army’s lingo and was inducted in the Army 33 Corps operational area in early February.
5. Akash Air-Defence System
Yet another air-defence system — Akash — was also deployed in the region. Akash air-defence system along with Abhra MRSAM and S-400 system closes the Indian eastern air space against any Chinese intrusion.
The Akash air-defence system is developed by DRDO and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). Just two weeks ago, the Indian Ministry of Defence signed a deal worth Rs 8,160 crore, to buy two additional regiments of improved Akash air-defence system for the China border.
The improved Akash has a new seeker technology, reduced footprint, and 360 degree engagement capability, and has an overall indigenous content of 82 per cent, which will be increased to 93 per cent by 2026-27.
Apart from the offensive and defensive equipments inducted in the region, Indian forces are also conducting various joint military and air-assault exercises in the region.
Moreover, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also on a two-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Home minister will visit the Kibithoo village as part of the 'Vibrant Villages programme' of the Indian government.
Shah will inaugrate various infrastructure projects in the state, including projects augmenting the infrastructure for the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
His visit comes just a week after the Chinese renamed 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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