The 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, General Dalbir Singh, is also expected to visit the Western Command headquarters here to review the operational situation.
Sources in the Army informed that orders have 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 to prepare for any contingency. The leaves of all essential personnel have 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 the senior Commanders to review the situation.
Sources informed that the 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 Pakistan Army has been observed to have moved its regular units close to the border in the past few days and hence we are well prepared. A Pakistani brigade had been observed to have moved to forward locations in the Sialkot sector,” an officer revealed. 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 back that the Western Command got a permanent GOC-in-C after the appointment remained vacant for a month and a half as senior Army officers’ postings were 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.