October 03, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 23:58
New Delhi: The Indian Army will hold its largest war game ever when top commanders from all key formations will gather at Pune this week to validate its latest pro-active war fighting concepts aimed at traditional rivals, Pakistan and China.
This is the first such warfare strategising exercise under present army chief General Bikram Singh.
The war game, played over a tabletop, is being held at a time when Pakistan is holding its largest two-month army field exercise by its Karachi-based V Corps beginning Tuesday (and will go on till middle of November), at a location overlooking Jaisalmer across the border in India's Rajasthan, to finalise its warfare concepts aimed at India.
Hosted by the Pune-based Southern Army Command from Wednesday to Friday, the war game is expected to have Gen. Bikram Singh taking part, a top army officer told a news agency here.
"Tabletop war games are much more complex and sophisticated in terms of content, brain-storming and evolving of warfare concepts to counter the enemy's defensive tactics and offensive strategies. Field exercises are for validating the concepts evolved at tabletop war games," a senior army officer explained.
"Senior officers from all seven commands of the Indian army and key formations are participating in the war game," he said.
"The war game will evolve a proactive strategy in punishing enemy forces at the time of battle. It will also work on effective ways of coordination between the army and the air force, key for a joint war effort for maximising gains during battle," the officer added.
Southern Army Command is the largest in terms of Indian territory that it is tasked to defend, from the coastal states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
The war game is a follow-up to the three major field exercises carried out by the army in the summer and winter of 2011.
1. The 2011 summer exercise Vijayee Bhava was held in the Rajasthan desert in May by the Ambala-based 2 Kharga Corps, one of the three offensive strike formations of the Army.
It was followed by the summer exercise Pine Prahar in the plains of Punjab, also in May, staged by the Jalandhar-based 11 Vajra Corps, a pivot formation with both defensive and offensive elements among its ranks.
Both 2 Corps and 11 Corps are under the Chandimandir-based Western Army Command.
In November that year, the army's Bhopal-based 21 Sudarshan Chakra Corps, under the Southern Army Command, carried out the Sudarshan Shakti exercise.
These 2011 exercises, held under then chief Gen VK Singh who spearheaded a transformation process in the army, aimed at building the capacities of the strike formations in delivering deadly blows to enemy forces in a short offensive by breaching the hostile army's defences and capturing important strategic assets deep inside enemy territory.
These exercises were also meant to test the army and air force's jointness and their firepower with the use of over 200 battle tanks and infantry combat vehicles, and artillery guns, apart from attack helicopters.
The US is also cornering a major chunk of the lucrative Indian arms import market despite having lost out in the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project to supply 126 fighters to IAF. T
he US has notched up sales worth over $8 billion to India over the last decade, with New Delhi emerging as Washington's second largest FMS (foreign military sales) customer in 2011. These include the big-ticket ones like $4.1 billion for 10 C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift aircraft, $2.1 billion for eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft and $962 million for six C-130J 'Super Hercules' planes. Negotiations are now being finalized for acquiring six more C-130J as well as four more P-8I aircraft.
Two other defence deals are in the pipeline, even though some hurdles are still to be cleared. The first is the acquisition of 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers from the US in a direct government-to-government deal worth $ 647 million under the FMS programme. The second one is the $1.4 billion contract to supply 22 missile-armed helicopter gunships to the IAF after Boeing's AH-64D Apache Longbow outperformed Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant's Mi-28N 'Night Hunter' in the field trials, as reported by TOI earlier.
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