Indian Army, air force practice enemy annihilation

May 12th, 2011 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook Iqbalpur (Rajasthan), May 12 (IANS) India Thursday ended a week-long war game close to the Pakistan border when army troops and battle tanks practised manoeuvres aimed at useing fire power in coordination with the air force to slice through enemy defences, a doctrine its been perfecting over the last seven years.

The exercise, codenamed Vijayee Bhava (Be Victorious), in Rajasthan’s deserts around Suratgarh was carried out by the Ambala-based 2 ‘Kharga’ Corps, a potent strike formation of the Indian Army in an 2,400 sq km area just about 70 km from the Pakistan border.

Vijayee Bhava, with 50,000 soldiers involved, is the 10th such exercise the army has carried out in the Rajasthan deserts and the Punjab plains since 2004 to finetune its war doctrine, evolved after the delayed troop build-up by India during Operation Parakram in 2001-02 in the backdrop of the December 2001 terror attack on parliament.

It was also to validate the transformation process of the army into a lean, mean force, capable of inflicting damage to both the enemy’s armed forces and its strategic assets, in a quick offensive thrust using its armoured formations, artillery guns and Indian Air Force (IAF) assets.

“This exercise is a transformation trendsetter by integrated application of force in coordination with the air force,” Chandimandir-based Western Army Command chief, Lieutenant General S.R. Ghosh, who himself went on a flying mission on a Jaguar fighter jet during the exercise, said.

“The transformation of the force is to make the army a more agile, versatile, lethal and networked. In this exercise, we tried out new structures, strategies, and modalities of an integrated, seamless air-land battle,” Ghosh, who was accompanied by 2 Corps commander, Lt Gen Anil Chait, said.

The transformation studies of the army was kickstarted in 2008 under the leadership of present army chief General V.K. Singh, who was the then Eastern Army commander based in Kolkata.

During one of the IAF’s Jaguar missions, the armed forces also took out a simulated enemy rail line, apart from flying MiG-21, MiG-29 and attack chopper sorties from nearby air bases.

The army deployed its T-90 and T-72 tanks, apart from armoured personnel carriers, to carry out swift manouevres to cut through the enemy lines.

The exercise, carried out in a network-centric envivonment, made use of all available intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, including satellites of the Indian Space Research Organisation, unmanned aerial vehicles and human intelligence to shore up battlefield awareness.

“We need to have realtime information on enemy positions that enables the commanders at all levels to carry out best form of warfare. Networking is like Facebook. If you want, you are in instant communication with your friends,” Ghosh said.

The army also simulated the use of its attack helicopter assets that are a futuristic proposition, apart from using its Cheetah and Dhruv advanced light helicopters for transporting troops and equipment.

Asked about the leap that the army has made in its warfare doctrines and transformation, Ghosh said: “We have made big strides. But we still need to work more on it. This transformation will made a huge difference to warfare.”

He said it could well take several years before the entire army gets transformed, as a further review would be done after the exercise.

To a query on the possible nuclear fallout of a conflict in the region, with both India and Pakistan being self-professed nuclear powers, Ghosh said he did not agree with the assessment.

“There is enough space underneath the nuclear threshold for a conventional war. I do not see the scope for a nuclear conflagration between us and our enemy even if there is some degree of war between us. We do upgrade ourselves for such a situation. We are aware of this and we do train for it,” he added.

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