Jalandhar: Close on the heels of a massive corps-level exercise, 'Ashwamedh,' conducted in the deserts of Rajasthan, the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force have now inducted their assets towards another exercise, 'Shatrunash,'which will test their ability to display a quick response to hostile developments.
The four-day exercise, which began on May 11, will test the battle readiness of the Army's strike formations, as well as those of the IAF, and their ability to coordinate their responses and deliver a swift response.
'Shatrunash,' dubbed as Pakistan-centric by defence experts, is already drawing attention in that country as the most hawkish military move since 2001, when the Indian Army had massed troops on the border in the wake of an attack on India's parliament. The exercise, is being carried out along the banks of the Sutlej river, in the Ludhiana, Nakodar and Jagraon areas, 50 km from here. Post-harvest, agricultural land is lying fallow and the exercise does not pose a problem to local farmers.
'The aim of the exercise, in which some of the new weapon systems and surveillance equipment were fielded in combat like situation, was to practice troops for their operational tasks in developed terrain as also to achieve coordination and synergy between the Army and the Air Force,' an Army spokesman said here.
"The technological developments in recent times have opened a large number of avenues for creating computer-enabled support systems which reduces the decision-making time of the commanders," the spokesman said. "Shatrunash is therefore designed to cater for integration of modern real-time surveillance devices."
The overall objective was to have swift military operations in quick time wars. The doctrines adopted in this war game will be formalized for future military operations, the spokesman added.
The exercise was witnessed Saturday by Western Command Army Commander, Lt Gen Daljeet Singh.
'Shatrunash' involves more than 15,000 troops of the Army's 11 Corps ('Vajra'), backed by around 150 Russian-built T-72 and T-55 tanks, artillery and Mi-35 helicopter gunships, commanders said.
The exercise is a sequel to the exercise 'Sangh-e-Shakti' (Combined Force) carried out in May of last year that tested the Army's responses in a Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) warfare scenario.