On New Year's Day 2014, India's 1st Mountain Strike Corps has been launched, designed for mountain warfare along the border with China.
A Corps is the largest fighting formation in the Indian Army with troops usually numbering 40,000 to 60,000 directly coming under its command.
India has 13 full-fledged Corps out of which three--1, 2 and 21-- are designated as Strike Corps for an offensive against Pakistan. The new Corps allows India to plug the gap in its preparedness along the China border both in the Northern and Eastern Sectors
The eventual strength of the Corps is meant to be 80,000 troops. The Corps is currently headquartered in Ranchi in Jharkhand, but is expected to move to Panagarh in West Bengal. The move will happen after the infrastructure needed in Bengal is developed -that includes training area, ammunition dumps, barracks and location for various units including infantry, artillery, army aviation, signals, ordnance, and supply formations.
The latest Corps of the army has a budget of 64,000 crores over seven years. The new mountain Corps will require light artillery which can be easily airlifted to the highest mountains. Given India's painfully-slow process of weapons acquisition, empowering the Mountain Strike Corps quickly will be a big challenge
At least six C-130J aircraft of the Indian Air Force will be attached to the Corps at Panagarh. The C-130J is a versatile medium-lift transport aircraft which can transport at a time up to 200 fully-equipped soldiers from the Parachute or Special Forces regiments.