New Delhi : The Indian Army will deploy ‘Integrated Battle Group’ (IBG) to fight the war on Pakistan and China border. The preparations for the fresh combat formations on both the borders are almost complete.
The Army is now preparing IBG for Arunachal Theatre. All Integrated Battle Groups deployed in the Ladakh sector will have a regiment of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) in their orbits. These battle groups will focus more on tanks and heavy artillery in the plains of the Pakistani border, while mountain warfare on the China border will revolve more around infantry and light artillery.
The Army is now ready to deploy IBGs to form theatre commands and new self-contained combat units under modernisation. Although it was to be deployed earlier, it has been delayed due to the Corona epidemic and military confrontation with China. The IBG has been formed separately with around 5,000 soldiers and units of infantry, tanks, artillery, air defence, signals, engineers and other units. The IBG has been tested in 9 Corps on the western border with Pakistan. Similarly, the Army is awaiting a report on the recent IBG-style exercise carried out by the Mountain Strike Corps in Arunachal Pradesh, which left China in jeopardy.
Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pandey has said that a holding formation on the western front and a strike formation in the eastern or northern borders have been identified. He said that the Indian Army is in advanced stages of putting the IBG together by reconfiguring its combat formations. Once that happens, it would be seen how it could be taken forward and applied to other Army formations. The General said that this process has been put to the test along the two most active borders, namely Pakistan and China. General Pandey said that once the IBGs are commissioned these will be comparatively small formations but will be able to execute their tasks faster.
He explained that IBGs would be larger than a brigade (3,000–3,500), but smaller than a division (10,000–12,000). Two IBGs are planned in the first instance, one of which is coming under 9 Corps mandated to operate along the western borders with Pakistan. The other is being attached under 17 Corps (Panagarh) as the only strike corps to operate along the northern borders of China. Internal consultations are being held to develop force formations efficient in fighting and winning future wars.
Along with the creation of the IBG and Theater Command, the 1.3 million-strong army has been reorganised to meet the dual challenge posed by China and Pakistan.
General Pandey says that the changing nature of war, present and future threats to country’s active borders require changes in the organisational structures of the army. The ongoing standoff with China in eastern Ladakh has forced the army to focus on the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) two years ago. The restructuring of the army includes a change in the operational role of 1 Corps towards the northern sector along China, including Ladakh, which was earlier focused on Pakistan.
This corps will still maintain the operational flexibility to deploy at short notice against Pakistan. A corps with a sufficient number of habitual troops would be available to both China and Pakistan. This will be in addition to the 14th Corps at Leh.