EXCLUSIVE REPORT By Thar Savera
exercise, codenamed 'Sarvada Vijay'
Indo Pak Border
Bikaner, India may be raising a new mountain strike corps to counter China's build-up of military infrastructure and capabilities all along the Line of Actual Control but it continues to hone its combat skills on the western front with Pakistan as well. Sarvada Vijay is an exercise which involves infantry and other mechanished forces.Indian air force will also join in as part of the joint operation.Earlier army had carried out similar exercises like Vijayee Bhava, Sudarshan Shakti and Shoorveer on the similar lines.
The terrain in western Rajasthan is appropriate for mechanished operations,wherein,infantry also plays an important role in canal obstacles and ground holding complexities .Artillery support for stike corps operation will be a battle winning factor.
Logistics plays an important role in such operations and time taken to move the stike corps elements from its peace location to operational area is the crux of the game.Maintaining surprise and deception with employment of reserve forces will decide the outcome of the war.A major exercise, codenamed 'Sarvada Vijay' (Always Victorious), is currently underway in the deserts of Rajasthan with the overall aim being to practice conventional cross-border thrusts into enemy territory. With a large number of tanks, infantry combat vehicles and howitzers deployed, the exercise involves the Mathura-based I Strike Corps with some support elements. "Army chief General Bikram Singh will be visiting the Suratgarh area to review the exercise later this week," said a source. After Operation Parakram in 2002, which exposed operational gaps and the slow troop mobilisation along the border, India reorganised the Army formations along the western front to ensure the capability to deliver a more effective lethal punch if required.
This involved the creation of the South-Western Command (SWAC) in Jaipur in 2005 as the 1.18-million strong Army's sixth operational command. While I Strike Corps falls under SWAC, the other two such "attack" formations are II Corps (Ambala) under the Western Army Command at Chandimandir and XXI Corps (Bhopal) under the Southern Army Command in Pune. But with the focus for long being on a land battle with Pakistan, it is only over the last few years that India has belatedly turned its attention to China. So, while the three existing strike corps are largely geared towards Pakistan, the Army in 2009-2010 raised two new infantry divisions (1,260 officers and 35,000 soldiers) at Likabali and Missamari (Assam) for the "defence" of Arunachal Pradesh. Now, India has begun raising the new mountain strike corps - the XVII Corps with its headquarters at Panagarh in West Bengal -- to add some much-needed "deterrence" to the "dissuasive posture" against China. It will give the Army, virtually for the first time, some "rapid reaction force" capability to launch a counter-offensive into Tibet Autonomous Region in the event of a Chinese attack.The XVII Corps is to be fully raised over the next seven years with around 90,000 soldiers at a cost of around Rs 64,700 crore. Apart from "integral units", the new corps will have two high-altitude infantry divisions (initially being raised at Panagarh and Pathankot), two independent infantry brigades, two armoured brigades and two Para-Special Forces battalions, spread across Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
This is deemed critical to counter China's "aggressive" strengthening of its military capabilities along the LAC, including at least five fully-operational airbases, an extensive rail network and over 58,000-km of roads in Tibet. This allows China to move over 30 divisions (each with over 15,000 soldiers) to the LAC, outnumbering Indian forces by at least 3:1 there as of now, as earlier reported here.