New Delhi: Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Sunday (May 10, 2020) informed that his force plans to introduce the Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) along the borders with China and Pakistan for swift strikes in case of a war situation. Speaking to news agency PTI, the General stated that a "test-bedding" for the same had been completed but the rollout has been delayed for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
"The roll-out of the IBGs has been delayed due to the outbreak of the pandemic and the need to divert critical resources towards containment efforts," the Army Chief told PTI.
"However, I can assure you that we will roll out the IBGs in the requisite time frame as the conceptual groundwork has already been laid out and extensive test-bedding had already been carried out prior to the outbreak," he said.
An IBG is a mix of infantry, artillery, air defence, tanks and logistics units, as part of bringing a change in warfighting capability.
Each IBG will be modelled on the specific operational requirement in which the topography of the land will be taken into consideration and the threat perceptions as well. There will be at least 5,000 troops in each IBG headed by a Major General.
Though, he noted that there could be some disruptions in defence production and procurement due to the COVID-19 pandemic but calls it a temporary phase. The indigenous manufacturing will be impacted, he said, its magnitude will be much lower.
In October 2019, ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to India, the Indian Army had carried out the "Him Vijay" exercise in Arunachal Pradesh primarily to test these IBGs and check its effectiveness in combat situations in mountainous terrains.
All the IBGs will be theatre-specific which means that a unit deployed in the deserts of Rajasthan will have equipment and forces trained for desert warfare while those deployed in the mountains will be suitably equipped and trained.