JAIPUR: In a major strategic decision the Indian Army has decided to shift its 42 Artillery Division of the Jaipur-based South Western (SW) Command to Bassi, 25 km from the Rajasthan capital. The new location is much closer to Jaipur as compared to its present location in Alwar, about 160 km from the Pink City.
Being one of only two artillery divisions in the Indian Army — the other being 41 Artillery in Pune — moving the unit closer to the command headquarters would substantially increase operational preparedness, accessibility and communication, apart from ensuring better command and control system without interference, pointed out sources. The command headquarters would continue to be in Jaipur.
The army has initiated the process of acquiring 4607 bighas of land in Barwa and Parsoli village of Bassitehsil for the division. Of this 3305 bighas of land is owned by the state government, while the rest 1302 bighas is privately owned.
The South Western Command has the unique distinction of being the test-bed command for implementation of TAC C3I (Tactical command, control, communication and Intelligence) system in its field formations. The system is being implemented with an aim to help plan, direct and control the field forces to provide accurate, timely and credible information to commanders at all levels, pointed out army sources.
“Today, the Indian Army is facing multiple challenges on myriad front, ranging from a total war under nuclear overhang to sub-conventional threats. The army thus needs to transform itself into a modern, operationally ready force, which can function in a synergized joint-service environment across the entire spectrum of conflict. Currently operations in South Western Command are pivotal for the Western Front,” asserted sources.
The SW Command, the seventh and the youngest command of the Indian Army, will be seven years old on 15 April 2012. Christened the Sapta Shakti — the Seventh Star determined to be “Forever Victorious” — it was carved out of the erstwhile Western Command based on experiences gained during Operation Vijay and Operation Parakram. This was done in response to the requirement of making the Commands on the Western Front compact, role based and manageable, thereby optimizing the country’s strength, while taking due care of its vulnerabilities.
Sources pointed out that the well-developed and high-value territory on both sides of International border (IB), particularly in Punjab and Northern post of Rajasthan, demands operational preparedness of high value. Before creation of the SW Command, the “enemy” found the sparsely-populated and barren landscape a convenient axis of entry for its armour and mechanized infantry, for example in 1965 and 1971. Since the creation of the Command, there has been tighter vigil, an accelerated process of patrolling and the completion of barbed-wire fence extending all along the international border.
The geographical area of Sapta Shakti Command extends over Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, covering more than 1.5 lakh square kilometres. These three states are the nursery of the army, providing maximum officers and men to the force. The Command, in addition to guarding the frontier, provides assistance to the civil administration in these three states as well as parts of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
Incidentally, the SW command is going to celebrate its eighth raising day on April, 14 and 15. Giving details of the celebrations, defence spokesperson colonel S D Goswami said the mass display during the celebration would include motorcycle display, dog show, flypast and flying skill display by Army Aviation Helicopters, hot air ballooning, parasailing, horse riding, horse show, etc.