IN AN effort to gauge the offensive capabilities of the military in the Southern theatre, formations of the Southern Command are conducting an exercise, titled ‘Hamesha Vijayee’ (always victorious), in Jaisalmer-Barmer region from December 16 to 22. The exercise, which is being conducted in association with the Air Force, will help evaluate the capability of the armed forces in an integrated air-land battle. To prepare for it, participating formations of the Pune-headquartered Southern Command had undergone training for the last two months. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat will witness the exercise on December 21 and 22.
An Army official said, “After the preparatory training, a large number of troops, along with tanks and other armoured vehicles, duly supported by heavy land and air-based firepower commenced conducting fully integrated operational manoeuvres to validate their operational plans.” Southern Command has its area of responsibility spread over 40 per cent of the land area of the country.
He added, “This effort is unique in scope and scale and is being conducted in battle-like conditions. The key aim is to fine tune surveillance and destruction mechanisms to support precision strikes and manoeuvres by network-enabled forces. There is strong emphasis on joint operations.”
“The exercise would also test sensor-to-shooter grids by employing a vast array of surveillance and air assets, which are networked with land-based strategic and tactical units. Besides large scale conventional warfare, troops will also be rehearsed to operate in the back drop of chemical and nuclear contingencies. It must be highlighted, no important offensives are possible with just one arm of the military. The joint exercises, where two or all three forces join hands, will be conducted more frequently in the future,” said the official.
An official release by the Army stated, “This exercise, which showcases a high degree of synergy between the Army and Air Force, along with new generation aviation assets of the army will be reviewed by a large number of senior officers of both the services to obtain inputs for further refinement of operational procedures. The Southern Command undertakes such exercises at regular intervals to ensure a high degree of battle readiness as well as validation of operational plans using modern weapons and equipment.”