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Indian army to set up new offensive battle group by early 2022


Integrated Battle Group are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swiftly launch strikes against an adversary in case of hostilities.

According to the “Economic Times” report on June 7, the Indian Army’s plan to establish a new independent combat force was previously delayed by the confrontation between China and India and the impact of the Chinese Corona virus epidemic.

The Indian Army is now firmly stating that it will establish a new type of combat unit known as the Integrated Battle Group (IBG), which can be quickly mobilized and strengthened firepower strike capabilities. According to Indian Army officers, the first batch of integrated battle groups will be separated and reorganized from the current Indian Army and it will be ready by early 202.

Indian army soldiers in Kashmir
Indian army soldiers in Kashmir

Each unit has about 5,000 personnel, equipped with various infantry, tanks, artillery, air defense units, and information. Troops, engineering forces, and other army units. Indian Army Chief of Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane said, “The creation of an integrated battle group is a crucial step for the Indian Army to think about how to conduct future operations in a multi-arms model.”

According to source the Indian Army’s integrated battle group and theater command, as well as the ongoing 1.3 million reorganizations of the army, are all aimed at gaining stronger offensive capabilities and resolving the two-line pressure formed by China and Pakistan.

The Indian media also stated that the Sino-Indian border standoff last year caused the Indian Army to rebalance the deployment of military forces, using the 3,488-kilometer Sino-Indian border actual control line as the main front, while the Indian Army’s main energy in the past few decades has been on the direction of Pakistan.

Indian army infantry
Indian army infantry

It is understood that the Indian Army currently has 14 corps, each ranging from 40,000 to 70,000. Among them, 4 corps are the “strike regiments” in India, namely the 1st Army, the 2nd Army, the 17th Army and the No. The 21st Army, of which the 2nd Army and the 21st Army are headquartered in Ambala in western India and Bhopal in central India, are mainly responsible for threats to Pakistan. At the beginning of this year, India readjusted its original deployment of the 1st Army in the west to the northern theater of India, and deployed the 17th Army to the eastern theater to respond to the pressure on the Sino-Indian border. The Indian media also revealed that the 1st Army will maintain a certain degree of flexibility so that it can be dispatched to Pakistan in a short period of time.

The report also stated that the upcoming integrated battle group of the Indian Army plans to separate 8-10 units from the 9th Army, the 17th Army, and the 33rd Army. Each unit is larger than a brigade but smaller than a division. It wil be command by a major general officer.

According to another Indian Army officer, after the establishment of the first batch of 8-10 integrated battle groups, more such units will be formed in the future. Different integrated battle groups will be based on different combat missions and the terrain involved. As well as the threats faced by different configurations.

Structure

  • While a command is the largest static formation of the Army spread across defined geography, a corps is the largest mobile formation.
  • Typically each corps has about three brigades.
  • The idea is to reorganise them into IBGs which are brigade-sized units but have all the essential elements like infantry, armoured, artillery and air defence embedded together based on the three Ts.
  • The IBGs will also be defensive and offensive. While the offensive IBGs would quickly mobilise and make a thrust into enemy territory for strikes, defensive IBGs would hold ground at vulnerable points or where enemy action is expected.

Why need IBGs?

  • After the terrorist attack on the Parliament, the Indian military undertook massive mobilization but the Army’s formations which deep inside took weeks to mobilise losing the element of surprise.
  • Following this, the Army formulated a proactive doctrine known as ‘Cold Start’ to launch swift offensive but its existence was consistently denied in the past.
  • Its existence was acknowledged for the first time by Gen Rawat in January 2017.

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