On the eve of April 22, 2016, at Bamanwali, 60 km from Nal Air Field near Suratgarh, the Indian Army and the Air Force displayed highest levels of joint-man-ship. The Agra based 50 Para Brigade created a history by conducting an Air Assault that involved 1900 paratroopers, one Infantry Combat Vehicle, three 105mm field guns and a Mobile Surgical hospital. The elements of this brigade group were air lifted from four different mounting bases in the Western sector, Agra, Bhatinda, Jodhpur and Suratgarh. This was the first time when such a force was air dropped.
The Indian Air Force employed three Russian made IL-76 and fourteen AN-32s. Their latest in inventory, the American Globe Master, C-17 and the Hercules, C-130 were also put to test. This manoeuvre was carried out simulating a 100 km deep strike air assault intended in the heartland of Pakistan, an aim being to secure the projection area.
In an eventuality of a conflict with Pakistan, the elite strike corps like the Mathura based 1 Corps, has the potential to split the enemy in to two, by carrying out a surgical strike. The Pivot Corps would provide firm bases to launch such a strike. The Strike Corps’ infantry components would capture tactical areas on the multi-tier obstacles (irrigation canals) on the Pakistani side at a lightning speed. This would facilitate the breaking out of the armour and mechanised columns, thus unleashing terror in the heart of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Simultaneously the airborne troops would have secured a projection area where these inducted Mechanised forces would consolidate. This action by the Indian Army would invite and draw in both the enemy’s Army Reserves, South and the North, thus nearly an assured complete annihilation of Pakistan Army in tank vs tank battles.
The Indian Military might at display, in the largest ever war game, “Shatrujeet”, being conducted on these lines in the deserts of Rajasthan is unprecedented by all measures. With 36000 troops conducting war manoeuvres in this simmering heat, India has sent across a strong message to Raheel Sharif, his army and the Rawalpindi bred Jihadis.
Speaking to the officers of the Military Operation’s branch on the side lines was really very reassuring, their confidence was speaking by itself. They informed that the capability to air drop a formation existed only with the countries like the US, Russia and China. India has now joined this elite club. This airborne exercise has validated the IL-76 better than the American machines in use. The Air Headquarter after this event is now considering to enhance the operational service of the Russian IL-76 which was otherwise drawing to an end in the next three years, they added.
At the question of the recent threat by General Raheel Sharif, of using a tactical nuclear weapon in response to our Cold Start. And the possibility of such a use by the Pakistan Army on these Air Borne troops securing the Projection Area, say in general area of Bahawalpur and Multan. These officers informed, that any land where the Indian Army soldier sets foot, is a deemed Indian territory. Any misadventure by the Pakistan Army of even showing an intent of using a nuclear weapon, let alone the use, would invite a prompt and a heavy response unbearable by the enemy wiping it out off the map of the world.
This capability displayed by the Indian Armed forces could also be put to use for ‘Out of Area Contingencies’ in assistance of friendly foreign countries, during a natural calamity when the lines of communications are completely destroyed or force projection in the archipelago and the Indian Ocean littorals along with the Indian Navy and Amphibious troops.
These are the initial symptoms of a super power in the making.