Mountain Strike Corps
Mountain Strike Corps was sanctioned seven years ago but it has been stalled two years back for lack of funds. With only one of its two divisions raised, it now exists in a truncated shape while being tested for Army’s new integrated battle group (IBG) concept.
- XVII Corps of the Indian army is the first mountain strike corps of India which has been built as a quick reaction force and as well as counter offensive force against China along LAC. Its headquarters are located at Panagarh in West Bengal under Eastern Command. It is also known as Brahmastra Corps.
Role of Mountain Strike Corps
- Preliminary role for the truncated mountain strike corps is for an offensive – not limited to the east, but in Ladakh as well.
- The first division of the mountain strike corps was raised in the eastern sector but the raising of the second division at Pathankot in 2017-18 was never completed. The raising was stopped due to a paucity of funds with the government, along with a rethink within the Army over the limitations in launching a full-fledged strike corps at the current levels of border infrastructure.
- When the concept of IBG was finalised in 2018, this mountain strike corps became one of the testbeds along with the Pathankot-based 9 Corps. Under the new concept, 17 Corps is supposed to have three IBGs, each comprising around 4,000 soldiers under a Major General, directly under the operation control of the Corps headquarters. The IBG concept is envisaged to create in the mountain strike corps, an ability to move, deploy and launch limited offensives in the mountains very quickly.
- The aim of raising the mountain strike corps in a non-defensive role was to create capabilities to deter China’s aggressive behaviour along the 3,488 km long Sino-India border. This had followed the raising of two new divisions in 2010 to strengthen the deployment in Arunachal Pradesh, along with an armoured, artillery and infantry brigade for other sectors of the LAC.