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With massive war games, army validates new concepts

Last updated on: March 2, 2012 11:49 IST

With massive war games, army validates new concepts

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R S Chauhan

As the summer approaches, the Indian Army is getting ready for its third massive exercise designed to test and validate some of the new concepts envisaged in the transformation process it has begun implementing in the past 18 months. These combined with joint-exercises with the US and Indonesian armies should keep our soldiers battle-hardened and in tune with modern war concepts, says R S Chauhan.

The Indian Army is getting ready for another massive exercise designed to test and validate some of the new concepts envisaged in the transformation process it has begun implementing in the past 18 months.

The South Western Command-led Exercise Shoorveer over the next three months will involve the one of India's three strike corps -- the Mathura based 1 Corps -- and the 10 Corps, located at Bhatinda in Punjab.

The initial massing of troops, tanks and other equipment has already begun in the exercise area, army sources told rediff.com. Exercise Shoorveer, the third in quick succession after Exercise Vijayee Bhava and Exercise Sudarshan Shakti in May and November 2011. All these exercises are designed to cut the lead time for mobilisation in case of a real conflict or war and give India the edge in any possible war with Pakistan.

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Image: Soldiers during an insurgency and jungle warfare drill of Indian and Indonesian armies


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Up to 40,000 troops to participate in the exercise

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Like the two earlier exercises, Exercise Shoorveer will involve up to 40,000 troops, over 200 tanks and nearly 100 Indian Air Force aircraft and helicopters. But unlike Vajayee Bhava and Sudarshan Shakti, the exercise area for Shoorveer will involve semi-desert and semi-built up topography. Formations under the South West Command -- India's youngest Army Command -- had carried out a similar manoeuvre in the summer of 2010.

There is a vital difference however. This time, the aim of the exercise is to validate the new war fighting concept while working towards a 'capability-based approach,' relying on a series of transformational initiatives, concepts, organisational structures and absorption of new age technology.

Troops and commanders will familiarise themselves with Integrated Theatre Battle Concepts. According to army sources "battlefield transparency' and operational plans based on real time situational awareness will be enhanced using intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) inputs from UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), radars and satellites.

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Image: Indian soldiers atop T-72 tanks cross a bridge as they take part in an exercise
Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

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India, US to exercise troops in first of its kind bilateral manoeuvre

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Even as troops of 1 and 10 Corps begin gathering in the Bikaner, Ganganagar, Suratghar area in Rajasthan, a much smaller but important fortnight-long joint exercise between United States forces and an Indian contingent is about to get underway at the Mahajan Field firing range starting March 5.

Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2011-12 involving mechanised forces on either side is already in a preparatory stage with the arrival of the 30-strong US team in New Delhi on Wednesday. The team from the 2nd Squadron of the 14 Cavalry Regiment based in Hawaii has brought along with it the Stryker Recon Armoured Personnel Carriers and support equipment. The rest of the 170 personnel will come in the next few days.

From the Indian side elements of a mechanised Infantry battalion will participate in the joint exercise designed to enhance the ability of the troops to operate jointly at a tactical level under UN peacekeeping environment.

Meanwhile, even as India and US prepare to exercise their troops, in a first of its kind bilateral manoeuvre, Indian and Indonesian Army soldiers are in the last stages of finishing a two-week long CI/CT (counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism) and jungle warfare exercise at Indian's premier training institute the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School located at Varaingte in the north-eastern state of Mizoram.


Image: An Indian army jeep is lowered by a helicopter at the Pokharan firing range
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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