Indian Army
Indian Army soldiers in KashmirCredit: Reuters

The Indian Army is preparing to deploy its first-ever Integrated Battle Group (IBG) along the hostile Indo-Pak western frontier by the end of the year. One of the world's largest Army plans to form and deploy around 11-13 IBGs to guard its western and eastern borders.

Notably, IX Corps, based out of Yol in Himachal Pradesh, will be the first IBG that will be reorganized and deployed along the western borders with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) clearing the proposal. According to Hindustan Times, IX corps is the youngest corps of the Indian Army that comes under Chandimandir, Western Army Command. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat is seen as the prime mover of this step as the IBGs is one of the biggest reorganisations of the Army.

Stressing on the reason behind such reorganisation, General Rawat said, "Restructuring of the combat potential of the Indian army will happen selectively from sector to sector. The international border portion of Jammu and Kashmir will see reorganisation first followed by others, making the Indian army a leaner and meaner fighting unit."

[Representational Image]Reuters

Interestingly, IBGs are battle formations with heavy firepower that will combine infantry, armour, artillery, engineers, logistics and support units to bring together all necessities to fight a war. In comparison to the traditional Army corps, which generally has three brigades, the IBGs are smaller, meaner, self-contained fighting units, and also include elements of airpower, artillery, armour.

Depending on its purpose and the terrain where it is deployed, each IBG will have 6-8 battalions. One of the officers privy of the development said, "The composition of the IBGs will vary depending on the "task" and the "order of battle. The IBGs, on an average, would comprise 20,000- 25,000 men."

The striking feature of theses IBGs would be the agility and faster mobilisation. They will be a self-containing unit which at times will draw support from other formations of the Army. As a new tactical formation in the Indian Army, IBGs will drastically cut the time required to mobilise the strike arms.

An officer of Major General Rank will command IBG. After IX corps in Himachal, the Siliguri-based XXXIII Corps that has been deployed to protect Indo-Tibetan border, including Sikkim, will be the next corps to be transformed into an IBS. The XXXIII Corps comprise the Black Cat, Kirpan and Striking Lion divisions and an artillery division with around 30,000 thousand soldiers.