New Delhi: The Indian Army will hold its largest war game ever when top commanders from all key formations will gather at Pune this week to validate its latest pro-active war fighting concepts aimed at traditional rivals, Pakistan and China.
This is the first such warfare strategising exercise under present army chief General Bikram Singh.
The war game, played over a tabletop, is being held at a time when Pakistan is holding its largest two-month army field exercise by its Karachi-based V Corps beginning Tuesday (and will go on till middle of November), at a location overlooking Jaisalmer across the border in India's Rajasthan, to finalise its warfare concepts aimed at India.
Hosted by the Pune-based Southern Army Command from Wednesday to Friday, the war game is expected to have Gen. Bikram Singh taking part, a top army officer told a news agency here.
"Tabletop war games are much more complex and sophisticated in terms of content, brain-storming and evolving of warfare concepts to counter the enemy's defensive tactics and offensive strategies. Field exercises are for validating the concepts evolved at tabletop war games," a senior army officer explained.
"Senior officers from all seven commands of the Indian army and key formations are participating in the war game," he said.
"The war game will evolve a proactive strategy in punishing enemy forces at the time of battle. It will also work on effective ways of coordination between the army and the air force, key for a joint war effort for maximising gains during battle," the officer added.
Southern Army Command is the largest in terms of Indian territory that it is tasked to defend, from the coastal states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
The war game is a follow-up to the three major field exercises carried out by the army in the summer and winter of 2011.
1. The 2011 summer exercise Vijayee Bhava was held in the Rajasthan desert in May by the Ambala-based 2 Kharga Corps, one of the three offensive strike formations of the Army.
It was followed by the summer exercise Pine Prahar in the plains of Punjab, also in May, staged by the Jalandhar-based 11 Vajra Corps, a pivot formation with both defensive and offensive elements among its ranks.
Both 2 Corps and 11 Corps are under the Chandimandir-based Western Army Command.
In November that year, the army's Bhopal-based 21 Sudarshan Chakra Corps, under the Southern Army Command, carried out the Sudarshan Shakti exercise.
These 2011 exercises, held under then chief Gen VK Singh who spearheaded a transformation process in the army, aimed at building the capacities of the strike formations in delivering deadly blows to enemy forces in a short offensive by breaching the hostile army's defences and capturing important strategic assets deep inside enemy territory.
These exercises were also meant to test the army and air force's jointness and their firepower with the use of over 200 battle tanks and infantry combat vehicles, and artillery guns, apart from attack helicopters.