ARMY UNITS under Western Command have been directed to maintain a high level of preparedness within their respective locations in order to respond quickly to any order to be deployed in their respective operational areas. The Chief of Army Staff, Gen Dalbir Singh, is also expected to visit the Western Command headquarters here to review the operational situation.
Sources in the Army informed that orders had been issued to the formations under Western Command that all deficiencies of war-like stores must be immediately completed and the units should be ready for any contingency. The leave of all essential personnel has already been curtailed. The Western Army Commander, Lt Gen Surinder Singh, is reported to have been in close touch with his Corps Commanders over the levels of preparedness and has called a meeting of senior Commanders to review the situation.
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Sources said Army divisions based in Ferozepur and Amritsar, which fall under the Jalandhar Corps, the Patiala-based armoured division as well as the subsidiary units of the Meerut-based infantry division located in Punjab have been in a state of alert well before the operation on Line of Control (LoC) took place. The Western Command units in the Pathankot-Kathua-Samba-Jammu-Akhnur stretch have already a higher state of alert due to the insurgency in J&K.
The senior Army officer disclosed that while the actual deployment of troops will depend upon the politico-military situation as it develops, the review of operational plans of the Command is being undertaken in order to meet any directions from the higher headquarters.
Incidentally, it was only two weeks ago that the Western Command got a permanent GOC-in-C after the appointment had remained vacant for a month-and-a-half as senior Army officers’ postings had been put on hold.
The Western Command has two defensive Corps under its Command which are headquartered in Jalandhar in Punjab and Yol in Himachal Pradesh respectively. A third, strike corps, is headquartered in Ambala has is the spearhead for any military operation that has to be carried into enemy territory. The area of operation of the Command stretches from Ferozepur in Punjab to Akhnur in Jammu and Kashmir. The South Western Command is responsible for the defence of Southern Punjab and adjoining Rajasthan.