Army’s grand plan of Integrated Battle Groups is time consuming
These will have a mix of every arm and service like Infantry, Artillery, Armoured, Engineers, Signals, Air Defence, and others.
NEW DELHI: The Indian Army’s ambitious plan to reconstitute its offensive capabilities by forming Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) is taking time. “Complexities” of raising such an important self-sustaining formation, which suits the future requirements of the organisation have led to a protracted process in rolling out the IBGs.
Explaining the time involved in raising the IBGs a source said, “Everything is being done with a deliberate pace as it is a complex process which will manifest in terms of operational ground capabilities.”
“The test-bedding of the formation continues and since it involves larger organisational changes, everything is being done keeping the long-term goal of creating a lean and swift offensive formation,” the source added. A formation is a combination of multiple units of the Army.
Another source said that the process may take more time. “Only once the test-bedding is complete and raising is confirmed that the officers will get posted and the existing Standard Operating Procedures for all the arms and support arms will be readjusted.”
The Ministry of Defence, in its year-end review in December 2022, had said, “In an attempt to reform the Indian Army into a leaner and agile army driven by technology, the IBGs were conceptualised. All formations of the IA will be structured on an IBG model in a phased manner. IBG is progressing
well, and Phase 1 is near completion.”
The raising and ground tests are being carried out since 2019. Stating about the new formation, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in August 2021, said the ‘Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) will pave way for quicker decision making. “Integrated battle groups will be new groups to fight unified against the enemies,” he said.
The IBGs are to be commanded by a Major General of the Indian Army. At present, a Brigadier Commands the Brigade and a Division is commanded by a Major General. As reported earlier by The New Indian Express, 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 forces reassigned and reconstituted would be smaller but swifter with greater combat thrust.
In the initial phase, the Army has decided to reconstitute its standing forces into 12 modernised IBGs. As per the plan, there will be four IBGs under the nine Corps, five or six under 33 Corps, and three under the 17 Corps. In the first go, of the two IBGs planned, one is coming up under the nine Corps mandated to operate on the Western Borders with Pakistan. The other one is being raised under the 17 Corps raised as the sole strike Corps to operate along the Northern borders with China.