Chandigarh: Briefings, war games exercises inside operations room and restricted movement around Ambala Cantonment, which houses one the three offensives “strike corps” of the Army – all suggest that the offensive arm of the force is preparing itself for any eventuality. Ambala-based 2 Corps, popularly called as Kharga Corps, possesses 50% of the Army’s offensive capabilities and has the mandate to launch offensive strike on Pakistan territory, in case of a war.
Sources also confirmed that the 2 Corps is also closely coordinating with the Indian Air Force, as it launches its operation supported by the air strike support. All field formations under the Corps, including armoured and mechanised formations, artillery division and air defence elements along with other supporting arms and services have also asked for readiness.
Even major roads in Ambala leading toward Kharga Corps headquarters and air force station have been blocked by the defence authorities for any civilian movement. “There are no orders of movement as was done during December 2001 in Operation Prakaram. But all the commanders of division and brigade formations under 2 Corps have been asked to maintain 100% preparedness so that forces remains alert and any order to these formations for movement does not come as a surprise for them,” a high ranking officer of the Army’s Western Commandsaid.
The 2 Corps is integrated with multiple formations including 14 (I) Armoured Brigade, an artillery brigade, air defence brigade, engineers brigade, a helicopter squadron, I-Armoured Division, 14 Rapid Division consisting Signal units and 22 Infantry Division (Ram division) at different locations.
Kharga has proved an effective weapon in various wars. In 1971 war, while positioned in West Bengal, it was Kharga Corps that broke Pakistan into two pieces. The elite corps was also deployed somewhere in the desert sector during Kargil conflict and Op Parakram following the attack on parliament. It was shifted to Ambala in 1985.
The 2 Corps had conducted a full-fledged military exercise in April last year to validate the operational doctrines of the Strike Corps and to test various battle concepts. The focus of the exercise was on new and efficient ways of fighting a war in a synergized battlefield.