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February 28, 2011

Army drill in May to validate 48-hour mobilisation time

(DNA) : Can Indian Army mobilise troops within 48 hours? The army believes it can and will seek to validate its answer at an annual exercise involving about 10,000 personnel in the Rajasthan-Punjab region in May.
After terrorists attacked parliament in December 2001, the government had ordered army mobilisation. But Operation Parakram took 27 days, by which time sufficient international diplomatic pressure had built up to pre-empt any military strike on Pakistan.
Since then, the army has been working hard to bring down its mobilisation time. Sources said better road management, offloading, rail links, equipment and man-management had reduced the time to 48 hours and every strike corps had been working at reducing its mobilisation period.
The two-week exercise, Vajra Prahar, will involve the Ambala-based 2 strike corps, besides elements from the Patiala-based 1 armoured division, Meerut-based 22 division and Dehra Dun-based 14 division, also called Rapids.
Earlier, the army used to launch an attack after an entire formation had gathered, but the new approach is for small battle groups with command-and-control abilities carrying out early launches. As elements have to be gathered from far-flung places, it’s important to plan in advance.
Training time will be reduced, and as small groups get ready, they would be launched.
Incidentally, the Pakistani army had held a war game last year near its India border with around 50,000 troops mobilised in three days from one end of that country to the other.
Former army chief general VP Malik pointed out that distances in Pakistan were shorter. “We took 20 days to mobilise troops for Operation Parakram. The lesson learnt was to reduce the time, which brought forth the doctrine of cold start for strategic re-location. Today, we are in a much better position,” he said.
Every year, the three corps take turns to hold war games. Last year, 21 corps had its first drill based on nuclear biological chemical warfare.

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