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Deadlier war doctrine

delhi Updated: Oct 17, 2011 10:28 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times
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Fundamental changes have been made in India’s war doctrine after the military restructured its fighting capacities, with the aim of waging all future battles in enemy territory. The new concept was discussed in tri-services Commanders' Conference last week. It will be used during military exercises in south Pokhran this winter.

Top government sources said learning the brutal lesson from Kargil war of fighting within Indian territory, the new doctrine is actually a step ahead of 'Cold War Start' concept, with scope only for aggression and not passive resistance.

The Cold Start concept was developed post Operation Parakram in 2002, with designated groups prepared to go into war theatre from the word go without long drawn out preparations.

During the October 10-14 Senior Commanders' Conference, top army commanders discussed the "restructuring of pivot and strike corps" and theatre-based "combat support and combat service support." http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/17-10-pg8a.jpg

In common parlance, this means that the army has done away with the concept of holding (defensive) and strike (offensive) corps level formations.

Under the new scheme of things to come, holding corps have been re-designated as pivot corps with the task to secure objectives in enemy territory and lay the foundation for launching strike formations.

For example, the Bathinda-based X Corps will no longer hold the intruding enemy but launch across to build a platform for strike by the designated II Corps in Ambala.

Each formation would have pre-designated support structures, including air support, so that the battle group would function with synergy rather than last minute creations.

This in military parlance has been described as theatre-based combat support and combat services support. The new concept was used Vijayee Bhava exercise last May with the army and air force enacting the land-air battle plans. It is going to be tested again in Sudarshan Shakti exercise this winter, 75 miles off the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan.

Keeping the changing Indian war strategy in mind, the Pakistan army has also developed a counter strategy called the “Early War Offensive.” This means that 25% of its army reserves will be deployed on the eastern border to take on the Indian offensive at the first sign of war.

The Chinese PLA has upgraded its forces on the Line of Actual Control through technology and equipment enhancement and the capacity to deploy through huge infrastructure in Tibet.

With China-Pakistan theatres now linked up, the Indian army’s proposal for raising first mountain strike corps has been sent to the finance ministry for approval. The armed forces have asked the UPA for early decision as forces have to be raised through recruitment and purchase of military hardware.