(This was originally posted in The New Indian Express by Mayank Singh)
The ambitious, new combat formation of the Indian Army, Integrated Battle Groups (IBG), is set to operationalized this year as part of the biggest restructuring exercise, aimed at making the force more lethal and suitable to fight a modern war with the support of technology.
“The progress of raising of the IBGs was discussed at the Army Commanders Conference. It is at an advance stage, with one IBG each on the western and the northern borders to be raised by this year-end or early next year,” said a source. The process has been deliberately kept slow so that the transformation of various arms and services into single entity is smooth, he added.
Each IBG will have a troop strength of around 5,000, bigger than a Brigade (3000-3,500) but smaller than a Division (10,000-12,000). These will have a mix of every arm and service like Infantry, Artillery, Armoured, Engineers, Signals, Air Defence and others. The Army has decided to reconstitute its standing forces into 12 modernised IBGs. The forces reassigned and reconstituted would be smaller but swifter with greater combat thrust.
The first IBGs will be reconstituted from the three corps covering the western and northern borders. “There will be four IBGs under the nine Corps, five or six under 33 Corps and three under the 17 Corps,” said the source. More formations will be approved once the first set is raised.