Arunachal Scouts is an infantry regiment of the Indian army based in Arunachal Pradesh. The soldiers are recruited locally who are familiar with mountain warfare. The regiment was established for the specific purpose of defending the Indian-Tibet border in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Arunachal Scouts Snap Shots
- Active: Nov 9, 2010
- Role: Mountain warfare
- Size: 2 battalions
- Regimental Song: Uttar Purab se aaye hum naujawan, desh ki raksha karne aaya hain (We the sons of North-East are standing tall to protect our country)
- Regimental Centre: Happy Valley, Shillong, Meghalaya.
Why Arunachal Scouts?
Border tensions between India and China at the Tibetan border particularly with Arunachal Pradesh have been simmering for years, with China’s invasion of India in 1962. China claims that a large part of Arunachal Pradesh, about 90,000 sq km, is a part of China and has named it Zangnan or South Tibet. Naturally India refutes this claim strongly and has stated clearly that the state of Arunachal Pradesh in its entirety is an integral part of India.
The international border even after the war remains ambiguous. In recent years increased military Chinese presence at the border led to the mobilization of raising scout battalions with the youth of the state. The hardy youth are well-suited for the mountainous terrain, familiar with the local language culture and customs. They are patriotic as they are serving and protecting not only their families but their homeland.
Proposal for Regiment Formation
The Arunachal Scouts have been raised on the same lines and premise as the famous Ladakh Scouts for protecting the Indian border shared with China. The suggestion was put forward by Gen. J.J. Singh to not only strengthen defence presence in the area but also to offer opportunities to the youth of the area.
The locals are accustomed to the climate, especially the high altitude and the topography of the state. More so, their know-how is an added bolster to the defence forces in the area.
Most importantly, as locals, they recognize signs of infiltration are well as communicate with the twenty-six different local dialects of the tribes.
Formation of the First Battalion
The insistence of the local government and a need for a stronger military presence over the growing threat of Chinese militia led to the raising of the first Arunachal Scouts in 2010 and the second in 2012.
The soldiers of the first battalion were raised out of the ranks of the Assam Regiment, so even though it works as a part of the Assam Regiment, the personnel of Arunachal Scouts are recruited from the state itself and are stationed only within Arunachal Pradesh.
The first division was posted to Rayang, which is also the battalion’s headquarters.
Advantages of ‘Son of Soil’ Project
Arunachal Scouts is a positive way forward for India. The addition to acting as a means of fortifying the frontier on the Indo -China border creating an impregnable border is also the means of combating the high rate of unemployment in the youth of the state.
Every soldier brings with him the knowledge of the large state, they enhance the Military beyond the call of duty with their familiarity of the topography and effective navigation routes and the local language and dialects of the different regions.
Training and Role of The Arunachal Scouts
The initiated youth have to familiarize themselves with the topography, learn the mandatory survival and operational skills as specialists in mountain warfare tactics.
Similar to the role of the Ladakh Scouts in the country’s Northwest, the Arunachal Scouts play a largely strategic intelligence role, gain intelligence from locals, use mountain warfare tactics and guerrilla tactic role along the front line.
Beyond the Call of Duty
The scouts were recruited to help in finding the crashed Airforce AN-32. They played a major role in it being found at an elevation of 12,000 feet.
In another instance of goodwill, the scouts were involved in the distribution of resources amongst local communities and their family distributed food grains to the villagers.
The scouts and the Police had an altercation in Bomdila, the people supported the scouts and were opposed to the police action. For the locals their actions against the police were an act of bravery.