Defence

Big Guns Boom In Arunachal Pradesh As Army Holds Drill Amid LAC Row

Story Highlights
  • India has been improving both its offensive and defensive skills in the region, with a special focus on the Siliguri Corridor, which is a strategic weak spot.
  • In addition to Rafale and Sukhoi-30MKI fighters at Hasimara, Chabua, and Tezpur, the IAF has also put the new S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system from Russia in the area.

In Arunachal Pradesh, big artillery guns went off as part of a high-stakes combat practice run by the Army in the eastern theater. This was another drill to improve war-fighting skills and coordinate emergency operations at a time when tensions with China are rising.

In the important Tawang and West Kameng areas of Arunachal Pradesh, where the “Buland Bharat” training took place, the Army used 155mm Bofors howitzers, 105mm field guns, and 120mm mortars, among other heavy weapon systems.

After the People’s Liberation Army made multiple incursions into Indian territory, the military conflict with China in eastern Ladakh is now in its fourth year. As a result, a wide range of artillery weapons have been set up along the full 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).

These include the old 105mm field guns and Bofors, “upgunned” Dhanush and Sharang guns, Pinaka and Smerch multi-launch rocket systems, new M-777 ultra-light howitzers, and “winterized” K-9 Vajra self-propelled tracked guns.

China also raised the stakes along the border between Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, which led to a fight between opposing troops at Yangtse in the Tawang sector on December 9. Since then, the Army and IAF have been doing a series of exercises in the eastern sector to test their readiness for battle, as TOI reported earlier.

Sources say that the Buland Bharat exercise featured the “synergised application” of the artillery and infantry’s surveillance and firepower skills, along with the Special Forces, aviation elements, and Central Armed Police Forces.

A source said, “The exercise proved that high-volume firepower could be used to destroy targets by firing artillery guns and fire support components of the infantry with radars in sync.”

During the practice, the troops and their gear were “tested in simulated war conditions.” This came after a month of training in high-altitude areas with harsh weather, he said.

Last month, the Army and IAF also did drills for “multi-mode rapid insertion” of Special Forces and other specially-equipped units into the eastern theater using strategic airlifters like C-17 Globemaster-IIIs and Chinook and Mi-17 helicopters.

India has been improving both its offensive and defensive skills in the region, with a special focus on the Siliguri Corridor, which is a strategic weak spot. As one of the steps, BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles with “steep-dive, trajectory manoeuvre, and top-attack capabilities” will be used in Arunachal Pradesh for mountain warfare.

In addition to Rafale and Sukhoi-30MKI fighters at Hasimara, Chabua, and Tezpur, the IAF has also put the new S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system from Russia in the area. This system can identify and stop enemy fighters, strategic bombers, and missiles up to 380 km away.

In February, the Army made its first “Abhra” medium-range surface-to-air missile regiment active in the 33 Corps, which is responsible for protecting the Line of Actual Control in Sikkim and the Siliguri Corridor.

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