Eye on China: Army and Railways cranking up synergy for swifter mobilisation & operational logistics
- The Army has adopted its “Pro-Active Conventional War Strategy” to practice swift mobilisation for multiple offensives into enemy territory.
- The Army is also “tagging into” the railways’ online monitoring system to keep track of the 5,000 train wagons it owns.
The Army is stepping-up its synergy in operational logistics with the Indian Railways to ensure it can swiftly mobilise as well as switch forces between the western front with Pakistan and the eastern one with China much faster than what is possible now.
Towards this end, the railways is already building infrastructure for military requirements at different places in the country.
This includes construction of concrete ramps for loading of tanks, howitzers and infantry combat vehicles on special trains in areas like Bhalukpong in Arunachal Pradesh, Dimapur in Nagaland, Silapathar, Missamari and Murkongselek in Assam, with an eye firmly on China.
“Concurrently, there is an increased focus on significantly enhancing the speed at which the special military trains run…trial runs are in progress. This will help in faster mobilisation,” said an officer.
One of the harsh lessons learnt during the 10-month long forward troop deployment along the western front under Operation Parakram, launched after Parliament terror attack in December 2001, was that slow mobilisation would not do any longer.
India had taken over a month to mobilise its forces for Operation Parakram, which had given enough time to the US-led international community to intervene as well as Pakistan to shore up its defences.
Since then, the Army has adopted its “Pro-Active Conventional War Strategy”, colloquially called the “Cold Start” doctrine, to practice swift mobilization for multiple offensives into enemy territory.
The Army, incidentally, uses 750-800 trains to re-locate its battalions as well as move tanks, artillery, ammunition and other loads for exercises every year. “The Army pays railways around Rs 2,000 core per year for this. For infrastructure development, the railways in some places is also using its own budget,” said another officer.
The Army is also “tagging into” the railways’ online monitoring system to keep track of the 5,000 train wagons it owns.
“Earlier, it was a manual and tedious process. There is also a proposal for railway service probationers to visit forward areas and military stations to get a better idea about the huge logistics involved in military mobilization,” he added.
There is, however, little progress on the long-pending military project for construction of 14 “strategic” rail lines on the fronts with Pakistan and China due to funding issues. The Army had even identified four lines (three in Northeast, one in J&K) as the topmost priority because it was told that all 14 could not be taken up together, as was earlier reported by TOI.