Over the past two years, the Ministry of Defence has ensured that India is equipped to carry out sustained operations if need be. In address to top commanders, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat highlighted the changing threats India faces and his vision to counter them

by Snehesh Alex Philip

New Delhi: Making a quick move to punish the enemy, if needed, and sustaining an intense onslaught for at least 10 days against the other side: The top commanders of the Army are deliberating a re-calibration of the force’s strategy in the face of changing threats and operational requirements.

This, along with a review of border infrastructure along the northern and eastern sectors, tops the agenda at the ongoing Army Commanders’ Conference, which started in Delhi Monday and concludes Saturday.

“With changing threats, the Indian Army has to re-calibrate its strategy and this is one of the main focus areas of the conference, which mainly centres on operational capabilities,” a senior Army source told ThePrint.

In his address to the top commanders Monday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat highlighted the changing threats India faces and his vision to counter them.

According to sources privy to the deliberations, the Army’s aim now is to ensure that sustained military pressure is brought on against the Pakistan Army at the Line of Control in the face of provocations, and capabilities enhanced along the northern and eastern borders with China.

On The Agenda Since 2017

Building its capability to carry out a sustained 10-day operation has been on the Army’s agenda since 2017.

When terrorists struck an Army base at Uri, Kashmir, in September 2016, the defence ministry realised that the force was severely under-equipped to carry out a sustained operation if the need arose.

“Following this, a number of steps were taken and a lot of purchases made under the emergency power of the vice-chief,” the aforementioned source said. “We have now reached a comfortable position.”

Refusing to get into the details of the operational purchases made, the source said the acquisitions included anti-tank guided missiles and artillery fuses. Sources said that a large number of orders had been placed with Russia, with talks underway for more Smerch rockets, which have a range of about 90 km.

“The focus is not only on the infantry but also on other services that play a very critical role,” said a second Army source. “Many of the processes initiated have either being completed or are in the process of immediate realisation.”

Hitting Back

In light of the ceasefire violations carried out from across the border after the 26 February Balakot air strike of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Army has been continuously pounding the positions of the Pakistan Army.

When the Pakistan Army resorted to heavy-calibre weapons, India deployed its own heavy artillery like the Bofors among other weapons, which are not being named by ThePrint in deference to operational secrecy.

“A lot many operational handicaps have been taken care of since 2017 and the focus is now to ensure that challenges are dealt with theatre-wise,” a third Army source said.