New Delhi: The Army would have integrated battle groups (IBGs) along Pakistan and China borders, said media reports.
“The plan is to raise two to three IBGs in the plains of Jammu, Punjab and Rajasthan for the Pakistan border by October-November. The ones meant for China will come up under the new 17 Mountain Strike Corps at Pannagarh (West Bengal) later,” a source was quoted in reports on Thursday. (Also read: Army Invites Registration of Women For Recruitment as Soldiers in Military Police)
“The Indian Army has carried out a successful test of the new integrated battle group concept which will be a battle formation with heavy firepower including armoured, infantry and all other warfighting capabilities. We are going to raise three of these formations by October this year,” an Army source said.
The IBGs would be commanded by Major Generals, said a leading daily, and would have T-90S main-battle tanks, along with a mix of infantry, artillery, air defence, signals and engineers, and backed by attack helicopters.
“Both offensive and defensive IBGs will be raised in stages after the necessary approvals by the Government… the former will be more armour (tank)-intensive for thrusts across the border, while the latter will be infantry-centric to hold ground,” a source was quoted as saying by a leading daily.
In January this year, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had announced that the proposed IBGs would soon be war-gamed but the Pulwama terror attack and the consequent Balakot air strikes delayed execution of the plan, said reports.
Meanwhile, the IBGs, with about 5,000 troops each, will be carved out of some of the 50 divisions (15,000 soldiers each) under the 14 corps in the 12.3-lakh strong Army. The idea is to combine infantry, armour, artillery, engineers, logistics and support units into IBGs even during peace-time. Otherwise, these come together only during actual combat or exercises. This will ensure the IBGs can be deployed swiftly.