Army to test Integrated Battle Groups for warfare strategy

The Indian Army will test a new concept of warfare — Integrated Battle Groups — as part of an exercise under its Western Command in Punjab in the next few months, top officials said. 

The corps-level exercise will test two types of configurations of the Integrated Battle Group (IBG) — one for offensive roles for cross-border operations and the other for defensive postures to withstand an enemy onslaught. IBGs will replace brigades during the exercise. A brigade comprises three to four units of about 800 troops each. IBG, on the other hand, is equipped with all the elements of warfare like artillery guns, tanks, air defence and logistical elements. 

IBGs ensure better integration and self-sufficiency than the existing formations. A brigade during hostilities has to wait to be augmented by different types of units like artillery and logistics. This slows down the mobility. IBGs will have all such units built in. “The testbed will help determine whether the integration in IBGs works and if it leads to better mobility,” said an official. 

The IBG configuration for the offensive role will have a high quantity of mechanised elements such as tanks, which ensure more power and manoeuvrability when punching through enemy lines. This is for the army’s strike corps for cross-border offensive operations. The army has four strike corps, mainly comprising large numbers of tanks and artillery guns. 

The configuration for the defensive roles will have a higher numberof infantry or troops, mainly to hold the ground. This is likely to be used for the army’s 11 holding corps, which support the strike corps and defend the territory. Such corps are smaller than a strike corps and have lesser mechanised elements. The concept has been forwarded to the defence ministry for further examination and approval. “If the concept works, then we will see where it can be applied. For example, if a division can be divided into two IBGs or a brigade canbe upgraded,” said an official.

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