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Army will imbibe Pentagon tactics, avoid its blunders

Saturday, 28 April 2007 - 12:31am IST

The army will try out two key American strategies of ‘Network Centric Warfare’ and ‘Shock and Awe’ in a large scale exercise beginning April 29.

NEW DELHI: On the eve of a large-scale corps exercise in the Rajasthan desert, the Indian army said they would continue to draw on the Pentagon concepts of ‘Network Centric Warfare’ and ‘Shock and Awe’, but wouldn’t commit the blunders of the Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officers say they wouldn’t reduce the number of infantry soldiers on the ground even while substantially stepping up the technological components of the war and target critical enemy targets with powerful bombardments.

The Pentagon concepts that were deployed in both Afghanistan and Iraq included ‘Network Centric Warfare’ — an intense deployment of technology and real time communication up to the individual soldier level that makes the battlefield highly transparent. ‘Shock and Awe’ on the other hand refers to a powerful bombing campaign very early in a war, to destroy the enemy’s key targets.

However, the Indian army has learnt from the blunders of Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan where there weren’t “enough boots on the ground,” according to a senior Army officer.

“Technology will remove ‘the fog of war’ but you need men on the field,” said two senior officers involved in Exercise Ashwamedh, to be held in the between April 29 and May 3. It will be the first major exercise of the South West Command, which was raised in April 2005 to guard a substantial portion of the Indo-Pak border in the western region.

1 Corps, a strike corps that would be among the first to move into enemy territory in case of war, will be deploying about 25,000 soldiers, tanks, BMP II vehicles (which can carry seven fully armed soldiers), artillery components etc. But what will make the exercise unique is the way the Army is trying to further progress on network centric warfare. Real time information from unmanned aerial vehicles, satellites, and other communication systems will be integrated into the operations, and made available in real time to field commanders.

An Army officer added that the management of the electro-magnetic spectrum would be another important component, given the fact that several equipment and groups will be using a large amount of electromagnetic waves during the exercise.

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