Army readies plans to secure India`s coastline

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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