Army open to ‘Arunachal Scouts’ plan

The Indian Army views with favor the idea of raising ‘Arunachal Scouts’ battalions to complement the existing Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police presence in Arunachal Pradesh.

The proposal, recently reiterated by the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh and former army chief, General JJ Singh, advocates the creation of a 5,000-strong force on the lines of the Ladakh Scouts and Dogra Scouts. “Naturally, we would welcome any increase in numbers,” said a senior officer.

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“The advantage with the raising of scouts battalions from the state is that these ‘Home and Hearth’ battalions are hardy and well-suited for operating in that terrain, they know the local language and customs and have a high level of familiarity with the terrain. Naturally they are also highly motivated, since they are essentially providing security for their own homes and families,” he explained.

General JJ Singh has been pushing for the raising of the battalions. Last November, he had put forward plans for the raising of four battalions, a proposal he reiterated last week in Singapore.

Recently, the stationing of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft at Tezpur in Assam, close to Arunachal Pradesh and the plans for doubling the number of troops in Arunachal, with the deployment of two divisions led to strong reactions from the Chinese media. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has also slammed the approval given by the Asian Development Bank for a $ 60 million loan for development in Arunachal Pradesh, as it considers the state, disputed territory.

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