August 23, 2014

Raising of Mountain Strike Corps: Arun Jaitley to review progress

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley will on Saturday visit Panagarh in West Bengal where he will take stock of the progress in raising the new Mountain Strike Corps which will look after the Chinese frontier.

Jaitley is scheduled to visit the general area of Panagarh, which is the proposed headquarters of the 17 Mountain Strike Corps and will be briefed about the raising of the new formation, Army officials said here.

Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is also expected to be with the minister during the visit to the area, which is being developed as a major hub of military, they said.

The minister will also be briefed about the location of the new structures and building that are planned to be built for the new formation, the officials said.

The Indian Air Force is also developing a Second World War airbase as the hub for its transport and refuelling aircraft to cater for the aerial requirements of the Army by deploying the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft along with the soon-to-be-acquired mid-air refuelling aircraft.

Jaitley will visit the formation after commissioning the indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kamorta into the Navy at Vishakhapatnam tomorrow.

The warship has been built by the state-owned Gardenreach Shipbuilders in Kolkata and is the first vessel in the Navy whose all weapon systems are manufactured indigenously. It will form part of the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Command. Khurshid also suggested that the government did not take inputs from the External Affairs Ministry headed by Sushma Swaraj before planning the talks.

"This is just a case of bad preparation and also a case of inadequate inputs taken from the foreign office. These are the jobs that the Indian Foreign Service can do and not the Indian Police Service," Khurshid said.

He claimed that calling off the talks happened due to "extreme panic" caused by "extreme shortsightedness". By not realising the harsh reality of Indo-Pak relations, the government created an expectation of glory, which was unfounded, he added.

Angered by Pakistan's consultations with Kashmiri separatists, India had on Monday called off next week's talks between Foreign Secretaries, telling it bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.

Soon after Modi government came to power, Minister of State in PMO Jitender Singh had remarked that Government was open to debating Article 370, evoking sharp reactions.

A media report said a few days back that BJP has started a debate at various levels to to find out if Article 370 was meant to be permanent or temporary, what did it cost the country and to what effect.


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