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1 Corps

In May 2001, in the first exercise since Padmanabhan took over, codenamed Poorna Vijay (Total Victory), a nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) attack became the central part of the exercise. In order to simulate such conditions and conduct conventional offensive manouvers, 40,000 combat soldiers drawn from the Mathura-based 1 Corps fanned out into the desert plains for a war exercise, like they do every three years. The premise is that instead of striking at India's cities Pakistan may choose tactical targets to launch a nuclear attack. These could vary from warhead storage sites to nuclear aircraft carriers or even the airfields.

Indian Army's South Western Command for the first time tested its combat capability after being operationalised as the new Army Command in 2005. The testing was done as an exercise in the desert areas of Bikaner in Rajasthan under the name of Ex Ashwamedh from April 24 to May 4, 2007. Ex Ashwamedh was the biggest exercise in recent years and involved the employment of 1 Corps which is one of the strategic Strike Corps of the Army. The exercise aimed at validating integration of high technology equipment in network-centric warfare and joint operations scenario with the Air Force optimizing the Joint Service Doctrine and encompassing the advancement made as part of Revolution in Military Affairs. The all important nuclear backdrop was catered for at the strategic level.

The Strike Corps practiced swift maneuvers with the simultaneous employment of Special Forces, Airborne and Heliborne troops behind the 'enemy' lines. The Air Force contributed by applying air power using the latest fighter bombers using smart and standoff weaponry, attack helicopters and transport aircraft. The Indian Army used satellite imagery in real time as 25,000 soldiers conducted a five-day war game. A combination of imagery from a satellite and from UAVs (unarmed aerial vehicles) gave the battlefield commanders real time information about the movement of the troops and enable them re-deploy their forces in an evolving scenario.

The Chief of the Army Staff, Gen JJ Singh witnessed the exercise. The Army Chief laid down the priorities for the Army which includes operational readiness, high state of training, and top class leadership with operationally structured forces and responsive logistics.

Ex Ashwamedh was conducted as a two-sided exercise. For the first time, such large forces were integrated in an information and network centric environment involving satellites, UAVs, high technology surveillance devices, night vision devices and the concentration of massed Artillery fire employed in concert with its own air power. Numerous armoured regiments, mechanised infantry battalions and artillery regiments participated. The Air Force fielded over twenty sorties of specialised aircraft and attack helicopters both by day and night in every 24 hour cycle. The exercise was conducted under the direct supervision of Lt Gen PK Singh, GOC-in-C, South Western Command. The strike formations of the Army conducted the fortnight-long exercises in the Thar desert to test its "pro-active war strategy" and network-centric operations. One of the largest wargames of recent times, codenamed 'Ashwamedh', had the Mathura-based 1 Corps unleashing its armoured, artillery and infantry elements in full flow to practise operational concepts of being prepared for "short duration battles of high intensity at short notice" under an overall NBC (Nuclear-Biological-Chemical) overhang. An entire strike corps moved to the Rajasthan desert for the exercises which are being held deep inside Indian territory, almost 200 km away from the International Border. This is the first time that 1 Corps, one of three strike formations of the 1.13-million strong Indian Army -- the others being the 2 Corps at Ambala and the 21 Corps at Bhopal, is exercising after it was shifted to the new South-Western Command (SWC), headquartered at Jaipur.

I Corps
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh2730'N7741'E

23rd Artillery BDE
U/I Location ____'N____'E

U/I Air Def BDE
U/I Location ____'N____'E

U/I Engineer BDE
U/I Location ____'N____'E

4 Infantry Division
Allahabad 2530'N8130'E

6 Mountain Division
Bareilly ____'N____'E

33 Armored Division
Hissar 2910'N7543'E

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:41:06 ZULU