Indian Army's Integrated battle groups (IBG)
Indian Army is all ready to test a new warfighting strategy of Integrated Battle Groups. This exercise will consist of two forms of IBG. The first form will cover the aggressive roles for carrying out cross border operations and the second one will be in the form of defence to push back the enemy attacks.
General Bipin Rawat has been very keen regarding terrorism from the side of Pakistan across the LOC and other areas. He has been working on a four-point agenda to restructure the functioning of the Indian Army. The first and foremost priority of this agenda is the creation of Integrated Battle groups. second is the reorganisation of the army headquarters. The third is the cadre review of the officers and the last is the overall rationalisation of the size of the army.
In any situation, the basic consent of any army is the speed and synergy with which its troops can move in the response to the opponent. The only solution for this requirement is to be swift and offensive.
There are many components in the Indian Army. such as the infantry, artillery, the aviation, the special forces, engineers, the signals, etc., When all these components come together, there is a formation and the minimum formation needed to be war ready is called a division. The size of each division is around 10,000 personnel from different components.
Culturally, These divisions always don not reside together. In peace times, these personals are sent to their units back. But, you can't wait for the war cry across the borders. In this situation, if the escalation occurs through kinetic action, reorganising and bringing back all these components together is a very hectic process and takes much time which is not affordable in the situation of war. Here, to effectively and quickly strike the enemies territory remains a big question.
The Formation of IBG
To counter this problem, the Integrated battle groups were brought into the picture. IBG basically means keeping the army combat ready and this can only be done by keeping this component together even in peacetime. This requires the fundamental restructuring of the army physically.
On 13 Jan 2017, post-army day celebrations, General Bipin Rawat addressing a press conference announced publically about the Cold Start Doctrine which is all about the very rapid incursion into the Pakistani territory especially in the case of Pakistan. The IBGs are the core of this doctrine.
These IBG's are to be tested in the war games and then in the warfare strategy in March this year and if this test is successful, the physical exercise will be performed in May of 2019 to make it more effective and practical. Further, it will be given a permanent status after the approval of the government. These IBG's won't be deployed in the whole country but in the border areas such as the planes of Jammu, Rajasthan, the LOC, Punjab and the North Eastern parts of the country where there is a need of instant mobilisation of the components in the time of war.
The times have passed since the Operation Parakram and the Mumbai terror attacks where we were not able to launch instant offences. But today we have the resources and the flexibility of thoughts to try these new concepts like IBG since we have learnt lessons from our past times. Hopefully, after these concepts will be tested and approved, the army will come up with many such strategies with which the time and men can be saved in the times of War.