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Parliamentary Committee favours increased coordination between Army, IAF for better preparedness on China border

ANI | Updated: Dec 23, 2018 15:32 IST

New Delhi, Dec 23 (ANI) A Parliamentary Committee has taken a dim view of the infrastructure on the border with China and favoured improved coordination between the Army and the Air Force for better defence preparedness.
The Committee on External Affairs also pitched for a comprehensive Border Engagement Agreement between the Indian Army and the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA).
The Agreement should subsume all established mechanisms for confidence building, including border personnel meetings, flag meetings, meetings of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs (WMCC) and other diplomatic channels, the Committee said in its report.
It underlined that while it must be ensured that PLA is not allowed to "establish facts on the ground", the situation must also not be allowed to spiral out of control in case of transgressions.
"The Committee believe that there is a demonstrated need for a significant increase in the resources being allocated by the government of India to the armed forces and other civilian and paramilitary agencies operating in the area, including the SSB," the report said.
It said, "there is a case for improved coordination between the Army and the Air Force, which could provide better airborne early warning and control support to the forces on the ground when difficult conditions arise, including through the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones."
"Furthermore, the committee wish to emphasise the fact that our armed forces and security agencies must ensure that our persuasive deterrence continues to be effective and constantly adapted to take into account psychological, cyber and other technological changes that China may and indeed will continue to confront us with," it added.
Both sides should also ensure that for normal functioning of ties it is indispensable that our border largely remains peaceful, said the report tabled in Parliament this week.
The Committee also expressed unhappiness over the infrastructure on the border with China and pressed for expediting of road construction work and speedy clearances by the government departments.
"It goes without saying that better connectivity clearly gives an advantage to China in terms of defence preparedness ... The committee .. feels that the Indian side needs to do a lot more," it said.
"The committee are perturbed to note that despite a marked progress in recent years, the border road infrastructure on the India-China border is grossly inadequate, as confirmed by its own observations from its visits to sections of the border regions," the report said.
"In fact, on a number of important sectors, we are dependent on single access routes, a risky proposition in times of conflict," it said.
The Chinese Army had specifically taken advantage of this in the 1962 war and "therefore, we ought to draw lessons from the past on this matter," the Committee said.
The committee has been assured by the ministries of Defence, External Affairs and Home Affairs about likely improvements in the state of border roads, the report said.
It said it has been seized of the problems related to inadequate infrastructure, including roads along the India-China border and desire that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) works to achieve full connectivity.
"The main reasons attributed to the delay as stated by the ministry of Defence is difficult terrain, delay in getting environmental clearances, inadequate infrastructure with BRO, etc," the Committee said.
"The committee, therefore, desires that for a strong Indian presence on the border, better infrastructure should be created for habitation and transportation so that our armed forces may not feel any difficulty in accommodation, logistics, movement and infrastructure as well as storage and movement of arms and ammunition in emergency," the report said. (ANI)

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