The Indian Army has commenced using dedicated satellite imaging to boost command and control of battlefields and initiated moves to carve out a new South-Western army command to stabilise defences on the western border against Pakistan.
“The formation of the new army command has been cleared by the Indian government and it will be operational in the next three months to guard the west frontier of River Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir to major chunk of western borders east of Amritsar,” new army chief JJ Singh said in an interview to PTI.
The command, which will defend India’s vulnerable areas of Chicken Peck, Shakargarh and east Amritsar, will have defensive as well as offensive formations and a new corp is being raised for this purpose, he said.
Elaborating on the army’s modernisation programme, Singh said that besides using dedicated Indian satellites, moves were afoot to induct supersonic Indo-Russian cruise missile Brahmos in its surface-to-surface role.
He said the Indian Army was up-gunning its 155 mm artillery guns to higher calibre, giving them a longer range. The Israeli Soltam and Swedish Bofors are among those in contention for the deal.
Singh said that the army would go by the fair trial of guns in demanding conditions. The army chief said Indian army formations would be equipped with both conventional and nuclear missiles and the strength of special forces would be boosted up to 10 battalions. Singh said instead of special forces being oriented towards specialising in mountain, desert and sea warfare, the new units would be capable of undertaking any task in all terrains besides being fluent in major world languages.
On the indigenous Arjun tanks, he said they would be evaluated by the armed forces for induction after more trials and more tests.
The army chief made it clear that the Indian Army would be ruthless with terrorists, whether on the Line of Control or in counter-terrorist operations.
Touching on the recent shelling on the LoC from the Pakistani side despite a ceasefire, Singh ruled out the Pakistani Army being behind it and said it could have been terrorist action undertaken from the no man’s land. The army chief did not visualise any grave threat of high calibre 82 mm mortars being used well inside Jammu and Kashmir.
On whether India planned to carry out exercises with the US on the pattern of a probable future joint operation in third countries, Singh said their militaries were already engaged at platoon and company level exercises. Singh also urged militants in Kashmir to end their insurgency against New Delhi’s rule and pledged to help them if they gave up violence. “I appeal to people with guns to renounce violence. We will help you in your rehabilitation,” Singh said after landing in Srinagar to start a two-day visit. agencies