By Nallan Chakravarthi Bipindra
New Delhi: Buoyed by its successful summer war games in Rajasthan and Punjab, the Indian Army will hold another such massive exercise beginning this week featuring a potent strike corps in the Rajasthan desert along the Pakistan border.
This time around, the Bhopal-based 21 Corps will carry out the winter exercise that will go on for two months till the middle of December, top sources in the Army Headquarters here told IANS.
Aimed at building the capacities of the strike formation in delivering deadly blows to the enemy forces in a short offensive by breaching the hostile army’s defenses and capturing important strategic assets deep inside enemy territory, the war game will enable the 21 ‘Sudarshan Chakra‘ Corps to showcase its firepower through battle tanks and artillery guns.
The army strike corps will be supported by Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets, attack helicopters and transport aircraft, with nearly 20,000 troops involved in the exercise.
The summer war game Vijayee Bhava, in the Rajasthan desert in May was conducted by the Ambala-based 2 ‘Kharga‘ Corps, the other of the three strike formations. The ‘Pine Prahar‘ exercise in the plains of Punjab, also in May, was staged by the Jalandhar-based 11 ‘Vajra‘ Corps, a pivot formation with both defensive and offensive elements among its ranks.
Indian battle formations carry out the training in turns, once every three years to perfect the warfare doctrines that Indian armed forces have drafted keeping in mind the joint operations of the army and air force during war.
These exercises have been evolved learning from its experience of slow military mobilization as part of Operation Parakram during the stand-off with Pakistan in the aftermath of the December 2001 terror attack on parliament.
The army has carried out nearly a dozen major exercises in the western sector from 2004 to validate a new battle doctrine loosely termed “Cold Start” by think tanks and the media. In simple terms, it involves replacing a lumbering elephant with a race horse.
Though army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh has denied the existence of a “Cold Start” doctrine, he did acknowledge that it had plans for speedy mobilization in case a conflict loomed.
Write to Nallan Chakravarthi Bipindra at firstname.lastname@example.org