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Integrated battle groups concept being given shape in 17 Corps: Army commander

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KOLKATA (PTI): The concept of Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) is being given shape in the newly-raised 17 Corps to meet the current challenges in the northern borders, Eastern Command chief Lt Gen Anil Chauhan said on Wednesday.

He said the Indian Army has done a few exercises to validate the concept of IBGs as to what should be the organisation and structure of it, which the 17 Corps, the country's first Mountain Strike Corps, performed.

The 17 Corps carried out 'Him-Vijay', a mega exercise at a height of around 15,000 ft in Arunachal Pradesh in October last year.

"To meet the current challenges in the northern borders, we are organising ourselves in the form of integrated battle groups," Lieutenant General Chauhan, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, told reporters.

"What we are looking at is the organisation of formations which are more deployable, more employable and more capable to perform the tasks," he said.

Chauhan said that the Indian Army structures are more a legacy of the British Army and they were probably organised to fight in the longest kind of wars in distant lands.

To meet the present day challenges and take care of India's geostrategic needs, the first reorganisation was carried out in the 1980s when the infantry division, which contains combat and logistic support elements, was reorganised into a rapid division, that included some portions of mechanised infantry.

Following a status quo thereafter, the Army has again embarked upon reorganising its formations, he said after a solemn wreath laying ceremony on Army Day at the Eastern Command headquarter, Fort William, in Kolkata.

"We are looking at 17 Corps primarily in the initial phases, we have done some exercises to validate this concept of IBGs – what should be the organisation, structure and that has been done," he said.

Chauhan said that as far as the operational situation is concerned, the northern border has remained quiet last year due to the Wuhan summit of April, 2018 and the Chennai summit in October, 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first informal summit in Wuhan to exchange views on issues of bilateral and global importance and reviewed developments in India-China relations from the strategic and long-term perspective.

They held their second informal summit in Chennai where they exchanged views on outstanding issues, including on the boundary question.

"Peace is being maintained without compromising our legitimate claims or position at the Line of Actual Control (LAC)," the Eastern Command chief said.

India shares nearly 4,000-km-long border with China in the north.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam from June 16, 2017 after the Indian side stopped building of a road in the area by the Chinese Army.

The face-off ended on August 28.

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