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Country Risk

Indian Army announces new land warfare doctrine

21 December 2018

The Indian Army (IA) is seeking to create integrated battle groups (IBGs), expand its cyber warfare capabilities, and induct energy-directed weapons as well as artificial intelligence-based systems to manage multiple security challenges, the service announced in its Land Warfare Doctrine-2018.

IA cadets take part in a ‘tactical continuity training’ exercise at an officers training academy in Chennai in March 2018. The IA published its Land Warfare Doctrine-2018 in mid-December. (Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images)IA cadets take part in a 'tactical continuity training' exercise at an officers training academy in Chennai in March 2018. The IA published its Land Warfare Doctrine-2018 in mid-December. (Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images)

Dated 27 November, but published in mid-December, the doctrine states that the IA will employ "composite" IBGs comprising a mix of five to six battalions to execute conventional combat operations for "greater flexibility in force application".

Each IBG, which would be larger than the existing 3,000 personnel-strong brigade but smaller than a 10,000-strong division, would be headed by a two-star officer and include infantry, armoured, artillery, air-defence, and support units, all of which would be backed by attack helicopters.

According to the doctrine, the IA's will also focus on developing cross-domain capabilities, facilitating enhanced jointness and integration among the three services, and optimising the available forces and resources "for effective and robust military responses in a future battlefield milieu".

The IA is also refining its strategies to deal with dangers emanating from "restive, complex and active" border disputes with Pakistan and China and what it referred to as "state-sponsored-terrorism from across the border".

The doctrine states that the IA will deal with "deliberate transgressions" by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) across the disputed 4,057 km-long Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in a "firm and resolute manner" and in "consonance with existing agreements and protocols".

This comes after the IA and the PLA were embroiled in a 72 day-long stand off that ended in August 2017 at the Doklam tri-junction, which is situated along the disputed borders between India, China and Bhutan. The IA is of the view that it faced down the PLA at the time.

The doctrine also states that the IA will continue to carry out counter-insurgency (COIN) operations against Pakistan to "ensure deterrence through punitive measures" such as the September 2016 cross-border 'surgical strike' carried out by IA special forces against suspected militants in the disputed border region of Kashmir.

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