Army readies plans to secure India`s coastline
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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 00:19
New Delhi: To counter terror threats in the backdrop of the Mumbai attacks, top Army Generals have evolved detailed plans to secure the country's coastline from Gujarat to Orissa and refine the force's amphibious warfare tactics.

The strategies were fine-tuned by top brass including Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor during a two-day table-top war game in Pune last week, Army sources here said on Monday.

Plans for the Southern Command to protect the coastline from both conventional and asymmetric threats were discussed threadbare, they said.

The war game was a closed-door conceptual exercise conducted by top commanders with the help of sand models and large-scale maps, which do not involve troops on the ground.

The Pune drill follows a similar exercise by the Kolkata-based Eastern Command a fortnight back for area in the north-eastern states along the borders with China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, apart from its counter-insurgency operations.

During May this year, some formations under the Western Command had carried out annual field exercises in Punjab plains to validate operational concepts and test their equipment.

Later, in June, the Western Command's top brass conducted a war game at its headquarters in Chandimandir near Chandigarh concentrating on the Pakistani border along Jammu and Punjab, apart from counter-insurgency strategies in Jammu region.

For quite some time now, the Army's emphasis has been on table-top war games rather than field exercises due to constraints of space and expenses involved.

The field exercises usually take place in Punjab plains between the harvest seasons and in the Pokhran firing ranges in Rajasthan desert.

"Earlier, villagers in Punjab were willing to give their agricultural land for the Army exercises between harvest seasons. They used to do it enthusiastically. But of late the trend has changed leading to space crunch for these large scale exercises. The money spent on mobilisation and the exercise too is large," an Army officer said explaining the need for such games.

"Moreover, during the table-top war game, 10 or more war scenarios and the responses to them from troops and commanders can be worked out within a matter of hours. But during a field exercise, only a couple of scenarios can be worked out," they said.

War games are held at all Command levels every year to review existing operational plans keeping in view recent on-ground developments. It also helps expose new commanders to offensive and defensive strategies pertaining to a particular operational theatre.

Army sources said besides top commanders from respective commands and their field formations, senior representatives from Army headquarters and the Training Command usually attend the brainstorming session.

Since the turn of the century, the Army has been focusing on fighting a high-intensity, short-duration war in a built-up urban and semi-urban environment, mainly by a division-sized offensive formation.

Fundamental to this 'Cold Start' doctrine is a networked environment enabling real time flow of intelligence, data and information, as well as rapid troop mobilisation and deployment of devastating firepower across the entire spectrum of conflict, the sources added.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 00:19

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