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Tri-service exercise 'Bharat Shakti' to demonstrate prowess of indigenously manufactured equipment

Mega exercise 'Bharat Shakti' to be held at Pokhran on March 12 is expected to be witnessed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the top military brass.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Mega exercise 'Bharat Shakti' to be held at Pokhran on March 12 is expected to be witnessed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the top military brass and will showcase the "shock and awe" impact that the armed forces seek to achieve in an operational situation with manoeuvre and fighting capabilities.

'Bharat Shakti' will demonstrate the prowess of indigenously manufactured defence equipment of the three services, Additional Director General, Army Design Bureau, Major General C S Mann told reporters here.

The integrated tri-service firepower and manoeuvre exercise at Pokhran will be held for about 50 minutes, he said.

"Synergised joint operations will be decisive in the Indian context. Through live firepower and manoeuvre demonstration, it is endeavoured to showcase the tri-services operational capabilities to counter any threat leveraging indigenous capability and the ability to undertake conflicts in the face of global upheavals," Major General Mann said.

Sources said Prime Minister Modi is expected to watch the integrated tri-service exercise to be held at Pokhran field firing ranges in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer district.

LCA Tejas, ALH Mk-IV, LCH Prachand, mobile anti-drone system, BMP-II and its variants, NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier), T90 tanks, Dhanush, K9 Vajra and Pinaka rockets are among the platforms that will be demonstrated.

The first-of-its-kind exercise on such a scale is "not tailored towards any direction (northern or western border) or any adversaries", sources in the defence establishment said.

The exercise at Pokhran will also showcase systems and platforms integrated with the use of artificial intelligence.

"It will showcase live integrated multi-domain operations of the three services in offensive operations using indigenous equipment," as also "high synergy, multi-service, multi-domain capability, thereby demonstrating inter-Service synergy", he said.

The event, being conducted at Pokaran, imposes terrain restrictions on depicting naval manoeuvres. However, such equipment will be showcased as part of the static display that will follow the live demonstration.

"Exercise 'Bharat Shakti' will showcase the 'shock and awe' that the three services seek to achieve in an operational situation by employing manoeuvre and fighting capabilities effectively," Major General Mann said.

In this demonstration, "the latest indigenous equipment of all three services...what impact they will have on adversaries on their physical capabilities and their mental state, the 'shock and awe' will be showcased," he added.

The proceedings will commence with the Army's Special Forces, MARCOS of the Indian Navy and GARUDS of the Indian Air Force "infiltrating by all-terrain vehicles and slithering operations, while surveillance of the battlefield will be carried out by remotely piloted aircraft and drones. This will be followed by the degradation of targets by long-range vectors and artillery guns," he said.

The IAF will achieve a "favourable air situation by engaging strategic targets in depth, whereas the Navy will undertake maritime operations for strategic effects," the senior officer said, some part of the naval segment (happening at sea) of the exercise will be displayed digitally on screen.

Besides firepower and ammunition, logistics capabilities for transporting equipment and evacuation of injured and casualties using the latest technologies will also be demonstrated.

Various types of Radar, UAV-launched precision-guided munition, Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicles, and drones of various types, including logistic drones and swarms of drones, and 3D-printed bunkers will be part of the exercise.

The aspects of India's cyber and multi-domain operations capability are also being dovetailed along with the operations of the three services.

Major General Mann termed the announcement of Make in India as a "watershed moment", wherein the year 2020 brought about a "paradigm shift with the launch of Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign".

The campaign proved to be a catalyst for transformation in indigenous R&D, adoption of niche technology and establishment of the indigenous manufacturing ecosystem, ushering in the manifestation of India's quest for self-reliance, he told reporters.

This is evident from the fact that the global share in Indian armed forces capability development projects has "steadily declined", whereas the share of the domestic component has "increased considerably," the senior officer said.

In 2023, subscribing fully to the government's objective of Atmanirbhar Bharat, "98 per cent contracts have been concluded with Indian industry," he added.

"Even in all the cases we have started for procurement, which begin with AoN (Acceptance of Necessity), the majority of them are those which we will procure from Indian industry," the officer said.

Major General Mann said the global situation has been "turbulent" and the recent conflicts have brought into "sharp focus the centrality of national interests and need for Atmanirbharta", adding the supply chain disruption is the first casualty during any global conflicts as experienced in the last few years.

"Therefore, an important aspect of self-reliance is to have minimal dependency on global supply chains especially in terms of critical and fast-moving spares," he said.

Sharing further details on the exercise, Major General Mann said, how individual communication systems of the triservices are integrated, 'e-Tarang' software tool will be showcased, and GIS-related systems, topographical maps, hydrographic charts and air navigation charts with analysis and operational planning capabilities will be showcased.

A "very robust ammunition manufacturing ecosystem" has now taken root in the country, he said.

"Consequently, out of our inventory of existing 175 ammunition items, 154 items are now being sourced from indigenous sources," he added.

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