As China flexes mus­cles, In­dia kicks off mil­i­tary drill

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Ra­jat.Pan­[email protected] times­

New Delhi: In­dia has qui­etly kicked off a ma­jor com­bat ex­er­cise to test its new in­te­grated bat­tle groups (IBGs) for moun­tain warfare in Arunachal Pradesh, even as China show­cased its mil­i­tary might with strate­gic bombers, fighters, su­per­sonic drones and the world’s long­est range in­ter-con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile Dongfeng-41 at its 70th an­niver­sary pa­rade at Bei­jing on Tues­day.

Sources said the month­long “Him Vi­jay” ex­er­cise, which is be­ing held away from the line of ac­tual con­trol with China, is geared to­wards con­vert­ing the new 17 “Brah­mas­tra” Corps into “a lean and mean force” for “swift at­tacks” in a dy­namic op­er­a­tional sce­nario as well as “cre­at­ing vul­ner­a­ble contin­gen­cies for the en­emy in mul­ti­ple val­leys” in the moun­tain­ous re­gion.

The three IBGs, carved out of the 17 Corps with around 5,000 sol­diers each and a mix of tanks, light ar­tillery, air de­fence units, sig­nals and other el­e­ments, will be ex­er­cis­ing in con­junc­tion with IAF’s C-17 Globe­mas­ter-III, C-130J Su­per Her­cules and AN-32 air­craft as well as he­liPLA troops dur­ing a pa­rade, the big­gest in seven decades, in Bei­jing on Tues­day to mark the 70th an­niver­sary of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China. The dis­play of mil­i­tary might, in­clud­ing the first show of the Dongfeng-41 ICBM that can hit any part of the US, was meant to send a sig­nal not only to the US but also coun­tries like In­dia and Ja­pan, ob­servers said

copters for air­lift of sol­diers and equip­ment as well as rapid in­ter-val­ley trans­fers.

The ex­er­cise will be in full throt­tle when Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jing­ping is ex­pected to visit In­dia later this month for the se­cond in­for­mal sum­mit with PM Naren­dra Modi at the sea­side re­sort of Ma­mal­la­pu­ram, near Chen­nai, as was re­ported by TOI in Septem­ber.

While the IBGs of the 17 Corps, head­quar­tered at Pana­garh un­der the Kolkata-based East­ern Com­mand, are be­ing test-bed­ded in the on­go­ing ex­er­cise, the IBGs meant Buy­ing di­a­monds and other pre­cious stones now eas­ier on pocket

for Pak­istan were sim­i­larly “test-bed­ded” un­der the Chandi­mandir-based Western Com­mand in April-May.

“Each IBG will be con­fig­ured on three things. One, the na­ture of threat en­vis­aged in an area. Two, the type of ter­rain in­volved. Three, the task that will be given,” said a source.

In ef­fect, the IBGs for Pak­istan will be fo­cused more on tanks and heavy ar­tillery, while the ones for China will re­volve more around in­fantry and light ar­tillery due to the dif­fer­ing ter­rains.

Full re­port on Throw­ing a party may be lighter on the pocket


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