India will buy portable air defence missiles to deploy along the borders with China as militarisation in the region gathers speed and hostilities between the two countries enter a third year. The Defence Acquisition Council – headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh – cleared the purchase of the very short-range missiles that can be carried by troops, according to a statement issued late on Tuesday. “In view of the recent developments along the northern borders there is a need to focus on effective air defence weapon systems which are man portable and can be deployed quickly in rugged terrain,” the ministry said. Meant for neutralising low altitude aerial threats at close range, the missile is designed and developed by Indian research organisation DRDO and is similar to US-made FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-surface missiles. Such defence missile systems have proved to be effective in recent conflicts and the Pentagon is providing at least 1,600 Stinger missile systems to Ukraine to fend off Russian air attacks. Tensions along the Asian nations’ disputed border have simmered since the June 2020 clash – the worst in more than 40 years – left at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers dead. That fighting was centred around the Himalayan region of Ladakh, along their 3,488km (2,170-mile) border known as the Line of Actual Control. Last month, troops clashed at the border in the northeast Indian border state of Arunachal Pradesh. Military commanders of the two Asian nations have held 17 rounds of talks to attempt to defuse the border crisis but progress has been glacial. India’s Defence Ministry also cleared the purchase of locally-made anti-tank missiles for helicopters and Brahmos anti-ship missiles for its warships. The total cost of the military hardware came to 42.76 billion rupees (US$522 million) but the ministry didn’t disclose the estimated price of each of the three items.