M A I N   N E W S

Army trains for war in developed terrain
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, May 19
To validate its newly conceptualised doctrine of “fighting through” a short and intense combat in a network-centric battlefield environment, the Army’s mechanised formations, supported by the Air Force carried out a series of exercises in Punjab and Rajasthan over the past two months. The exercises are in the process of being would up. The final phase is being conducted in Punjab, which concludes here tomorrow.

Code-named Exercise Sanghe Shakti, the battle drill also focused upon mobility, deployment of a strike corps in a developed terrain and inter-services synergy of operations, use of force multipliers and special heli-borne operations besides testing and evaluating new equipment. This is the largest exercise of its kind in almost a decade. The last exercise of this kind was Poorna Vijay, held in the deserts of Rajasthan.

The most striking aspect of the exercise is that 2 Corps, the Army’s most important strike formation, is for the first time, training at this level for operations in a developed terrain marked by habitations, rivers and canals. The manoeuvres are being conducted in the backdrop of the nuclear, chemical and biological (NBC) weapons threat.

The exercise is being held in the Ludhiana-Jalandhar area, about 100 km from the international border, Over 20,000 troops and 350 tanks along with 70 aircraft are taking part in the exercise.

The General Officer Commanding, 2 Corps, Lt-Gen K D S Shekhawat, said following changes in the doctrine post Operation Parakram, the Corps and its sub-groups were mobilised from its peace time location to its areas of launch in just 4-5 days. Similarly they were moved from Rajasthan, where they were exercising a few days earlier, to Punjab within the same timeframe. “The old concept of first concentrating a corps in its area of operations and then launching it is no longer valid,” he said. “We now move directly into the launch mode as fast as our railways and road networks allow,” he added

The Corps’ Brigadier-General Staff, Brig Sanjeev Loomna, said it was also for the first time in the Army’s history that a strike corps was undertaking network-centric operations. Using information from satellites, UAVS, force multipliers and recce parties and transmitting it instantly through data links, this enables commanders at all levels to get a real-time picture of the battle scenario and facilitates decision making.

Exercising in a developed terrain has also enhanced the corps’ ability to cross water obstacles like rivers and canals. The area where it is exercising has a lot of such obstacles, which warranted different methods for negotiating them. “Water obstacles were the main challenge,” General Shekhawat said.

The IAF also participated in a large way in the exercise. For the purpose of the exercise, troops of 2 Corps, designated as Blue Land are pitted against troops of 11 Corps, designated as Red Land. The task of the Blue Land is to incise through the defences of the imaginary adversary, using highly mobile formations backed by force multipliers. 


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