The Army will hold a month-long war game in the Rajasthan desert along the border with Pakistan to validate its battle concepts including to plug gaps in the night vision capability of its mechanised forces.
Codenamed 'Yodha Shakti,' the annual exercise will also validate its post-Op Parakram 'Cold Start' war doctrine that envisages swiftness in inflicting maximum damage to enemy forces.
"Yodha Shakti will be held for a month from mid-April to mid-May in the Pokhran ranges and it will validate battle concepts of a Strike Corps with use of its mechanised troops and close air support from Indian Air Force's fighter aircraft and attack helicopters," Army officers said in New Delhi on Monday.
Strike Corps are the most potent force of the Army and in Yodha Shakti, the Army will involve its Mathura-based 1 Corps to practise battle manoeuvres.
The exercise would test out the troops' ability to carry on the battle under darkness, particularly its tanks and Infantry Combat Vehicles, as 80 per cent of the mechanized vehicles suffer from night blindness, a fact admitted by former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor in his annual press conference January this year.
The Army exercise under the Jaipur-based South Western Command comes at a time when Pakistan is already conducting a large air force war game of its own, under which the use of ground troops is envisaged during the last phase.
"About 5,000 troops, which is about one-third of a division, would be participating in the exercise that would be held in a digitised environment to test the Army's capability to carry out a network-centric operation," the officers said.
Army's T-72 and T-90 tanks apart from infantry combat vehicles would be part of the exercise in which a Pivot Corps from the South Western Command would also participate.
The troops would simulate enemy forces and a battle scenario would be tried out to see how the formations perform in both holding territory and in carrying out surgical strikes deep inside enemy territory, apart from capturing and destroying strategic assets of the enemy.
Image: File picture of a an Indian Army soldier atop a T-72 tank. Such tanks will also be a part of Army's Yodha Shakti exercise | Photograph: Reuters