Bringing down its mobilisation time drastically, the Indian Army can now move forces in just 48 hours, as against the almost-month-long time required by it earlier.
The swift mobilisation is a result of the just concluded strike corps exercise, ‘Vijayee Bhava’, in Rajasthan’s Thar desert. After terror attack on parliament in December 2001, the government had asked the army to mobilise, ‘Op Parakram’, and it took 27 days to do so. However, by that time international diplomatic pressure built up sufficiently to pre-empt any possibility of a military strike against Pakistan.
Since then, the army has been working hard to bring down its mobilisation time to the minimum possible.
Sources said better road management, better offloading, better rail links, equipment and man management, have reduced the mobilisation time. Every strike corps has been working at reducing its own mobilisation period.
Sources said timings may differ for armoured units and artillery units and also what matters is the place and terrain from where they move, like the Dehradun-based 14 Division is a hilly terrain and the Patiala-based 1 Division is farthest when compared to the deserts, where ‘Vijayee Bhava’ was carried out.
Movement is carried out in four phases which are command elements, reconnaissance, main body and balance.
Command elements comprising the formation commanders earlier used to take eight hours which was now been brought down to two hrs.
Reconnaissance comprising two officers, the second in command of the Brigade and the mobile operations, used to take 12 hours which has been brought down to six hours.
The main body of the formation comprises all the three units in the Brigade and their administration and logistics, which used to take 18 hours earlier, has now been brought down to 12 hours.
The remaining of the troops were given 30 hours, as opposed to their 36 hours.
The mission was successful, with all the units of the 60 Brigade meeting at the destined point in 45 hours, and another couple of hours for a final check. The distance covered was around 450 kilometers, and approximately 3500 personnel moved on road, on transportation that was either hired or were army trucks.
A Division has three Brigades in it, and for a complete Division to mobilise, another 10 hours could be added to this, said a source, but for a fighting unit formation, Vijayee Bhava has proved that the target of 48 hours can be achieved.
Support elements, like engineers, logistics, doctors, medical care, artillery, and other administrative items also move along, all of which take time to fall in place. ‘Vijayee Bhava’ also tested the advanced version of the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), with a glass cockpit.