When the whole of India were readying to welcome Diwali, some men were playing a game. Indian Army men were engaged in one of the biggest military war gaming and that too under the nose of the Dragon, at an undisclosed site in Himalayas.Amidst the 74 day long Doklam standoff, soldiers from the newly raised Mountain Strike Corps (17th Corps) carried out real war games comprising of 3500 men trained for mountain warfare. The exercises started during first week of August and ended a week before Diwali.
The major exercise didn’t gain much attention as everyone was tuned into the Doklam standoff. If sources are to be believed, the exercise was held somewhere in Eastern Ladakh close to Indo-China border, many believing it to be a strong message to the Chinese.
The strategically located Eastern Ladakh, shares 826km with China and extends from Karakoram Pass in the north to Demchok inthe south-east. The above reasons add strength to the claim that, the exercise was indeed a show of strength aimed at China. This comes as a blow to the Chinese as it is clear Indians hold better hand in mountain warfare. A fact testified by western countries sending their Spec Forces to India, to train in mountain warfare.
The 17th Corps is India’s fourth strike corps but first for the mountains, will consist of two infantry divisions, two independent infantry brigades and two independent armored brigades, along with all the supporting elements.
The corps plans to raise 250 headquarters and units, out of which more than 75 has been raised. The decision to raise the corps exclusively for Indo-China border from Ladakh to Arunachal was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security in July 2013. The sanctioned strength is 80,000 soldiers with Rs 64,000crore allocated to be spent over 8 years. The corps is expected to be fully functional by 2021, and in the process no stones are being left unturned.