Wednesday, July 29, 2009

T-72 tanks moved to remote north Sikkim area

Chinese moves to test Indian control of the strategic Finger Area in North Sikkim last year have prompted the Army to deploy heavy tanks and armoured personnel carriers in the region and strengthen defensive positions.
In fact, the highest gallantry award to a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel was conferred to a dozer operator, Zalim Singh, who cleared a strategic road near Theing village — he was decorated with a Bar to Shaurya Chakra — for a column of advancing tanks.
While the Army brought armoured vehicles to the North Sikkim plateau in the late 1980s, the small detachment has now been replaced by the heavier and more powerful T-72 Main Battle Tanks and modern BMP troop carriers.
Sources said the mobilisation took place after repeated Chinese transgressions last year in the Finger Area, a one kilometre stretch of land in the northern tip of Sikkim that overlooks a valley called the Sora Funnel and is considered a strong defensive position.