2 Corps / II Corps / Kharga Corps
II Corps, based in Ambala, is known as Kharga Corps. The kharga is the formation sign. Having a sharp edge, it is an effective weapon used in earlier wars. Kharga (power of god), a Sickle or Scythe, is the Weapon that Maa Kali [Mother Kali] holds to "finish off" ignorance and make way for newer developments. The image of Kali is bit frightening and usually shows her with a severed head in one hand, her sword known as Kharga in the other. She is seen standing on her foot on Lord Shiva's chest and wearing a garland of skulls. Goddess Kali has always enjoyed a significant presence in our culture. She appears in various forms as an embodiment of Shakti, the eternal energy and cosmic power. She is also believed to be the eternal cosmic strength that destroys all existence.
The Corps was raised on October 7, 1971 by Lt Gen T N Raina, (later Chief of Army Staff) at Krishna Nagar in West Bengal and saw action two months later in December. During the liberation war of Bangladesh, it captured the important towns of Khulna, Jessore, Jhenida, Magura and Faridpur and also the area between the rivers Ganga and Padma. Subsequently, the Corps was shifted to the Western Theatre where it was initially located at Chandimandir till 1984 and later moved to its present location in January 1985. The pullback of over four lakh troops along with heavy armored and artillery formations from forward positions along the International Border (IB) with Pakistan was an enormous logistical exercise, with costs running into hundreds of crores of rupees. "demobilisation" began from Punjab, followed by Rajasthan, Gujarat and the Jammu sector. While it took 28 days for the initial mobilisation, the pullback is expected to take slightly longer. The troops had been hanging on the border in combat readiness for 10 months, and the harsh weather and terrain took a heavy toll on both the men and their equipment.
The Army's three principal offensive formations: 1 Corps, 2 Corps and 21 Corps, based in Mathura, Ambala and Bhopal in normal circumstances, are built around a nucleus of an armored division and two infantry divisions. Each of these strike formations also has artillery, engineer and air defence brigades. It took more than 50 trains, with specialised heavy trailers as rolling stock, to move back each of these corps which have heavy equipment like tanks, artillery and air defence guns, heavy bridging material.
The 30th anniversary of the elite Kharga Corps of the Indian Army was held in 2001 at Ambala Cantonment in which a large number of officers and jawans participated. Felicitating all ranks of the Corps, Lt Gen Surjit Singh, Goc-in-C, Western Command highlighted the achievements of the Kharga Corps over the past 30 years. He expressed the confidence that the troops would come out with a resounding success in any operation assigned to them as they had done in the past. Corps Commander, Lt Gen Kapil Vij, while lauding the prominent role played by the Corps in the Bangladesh liberation war, called upon all ranks to rededicate themselves to rigorous training and operational readiness. Later, the Army Commander met over 100 retired officers and ORs from the three Services.
A An-32 with 40 paratroopers on board zoomed into the night on 17 May 2006 to commence 'Sanghe Shakti', the first major military exercise after 'Operation Parakram'. A total of two IL-76 and 10 AN-32 took off one after the other with men and equipment on board. These planes dropped a battalion of troops at Sidhwan Khas near Phillar in the plains of Punjab for one of the biggest military exercise. This is the biggest parachute drop in the last five years. The AN-32 aircrafts dropped an entire parachute battalion while the IL-76 dropped equipment in the dark flying in formation without lights. On the first AN-32 aircraft that took off with 40 troops, this first aircraft is called Path Finder, the first group of troops dropped by it will make a T-Point on the dropping zone,where other troops will land. With twin base concept and multi ingress and egress routes, operation will be conducted at ultra low level. Theaim of the exercise was to draw out enemy reserves in the general area and to degrade the counter offensive capability of the enemy. Some 20,000 troops with nealy 2000 to 2500 vehicles, from 2 Corps, the Strike Corps, took part in the exercise.
In early 2008 Lt Gen TK Sapru, GOC-in-C Western Command, inaugurated a passenger reservation system (PRS) at Kharga and Chandimandir. At Kharga, the facility is located in the Kharga Utility Complex on the Babyal Road in the Ambala Cantonment. It brings the rail reservation service to the doorstep of the soldiers and their families staying in the Cantonment and fulfills a long- felt need. The occasion was graced by GOC 2 Corps, Lt Gen V K Singh, Chief of Staff 2 Corps and other senior officers. At Chandimandir, the PRS is in the cantonment shopping complex. Initially, the reservation will be supervised by the Railways authorities and, later, Western Command will take over the task . Primarily eight soldiers have been trained for the purpose.
In February 2008 it was announced that Lt Gen VK Singh, GOC 2 Corps, had been promoted as Army Commander and posted as GOC-in-C Eastern Command. He replaced Lt Gen KS Jamwal who also retired on 29 February 2008. All the Army Commanders assumed their new assignments from 01 March 2008. As for other appointments on promotion, Maj Gen JP Singh, presently the Deputy Commandant of Armoured School and Centre is to be the GOC of 2 Corps, while Maj Gen VK Ahluwalia, the Additional Director General of Military Training was to be the GOC of 14 Corps.
"Slain you will obtain heaven, Victorious you will enjoy earth. Therefore stand up O son of Kunti, resolved to fight", says the Gita. These words on the newly refurbished War Memorial in Ambala Cantonment is a salute to those soldiers who have attained martyrdom while defending our nation's territorial integrity. The War Memorial, situated near the 2 Corp Headquarters, was given a major facelift in 2008 and the "Vijay Samarak" flanked by two Vijayanta tanks is a memorial for the martyrs of the 1971 Indo-Pak War. The new memorial was dedicated to the troops stationed in Ambala on the Raising Day of the 2 Corps. Earlier, there was a rifle in Shok Shastra in a glass frame at the War memorial. It has now been replaced with a "Kharga". Spread over about an acre, the war memorial has a well-laid out garden in both sides with water fountains in their centre. The memorial looks grand and imposing. The new war memorial has more space for names of martyrs and it has also led to beautification in front of the Corp Headquarters. The exercise to renovate the war memorial took about six months, with the designing of the war memorial being undertaken by Army officials.
14th Ind Armor BDE
U/I Artillery BDE
U/I Air Def BDE
U/I Engineer BDE
U/I Helicopter Sqdrn
1 Armored Division
14 RAPID Div
22 Infantry Division - Ram Division
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