President Pratibha Patil, Supreme Commander of the armed forces, on Monday witnessed one of the largest military exercises in recent times — “Sudarshan Shakti” — aimed at starting the transformation of the forces into a modern, lean, and agile fighting combination capable of leveraging new-age technologies.
The exercise, in the deserts near Barmer in Rajasthan, helmed by the Southern Army Command and the South Western Air Command, led by formations under the Bhopal-based 21 Corps, a strike Corps also known by the name Sudarshan Chakra Corps, looks to build synergy between the Army and the Air Force in a network-centric environment to help face challenges of the 21st Century – including having to fight in an environment dominated by the threat from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
Donning military fatigues, Ms. Patil arrived on a T-90 battle tank much to the astonishment of onlookers, accompanied by Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Army Chief General V.K. Singh, hailed the exercises as a “landmark that would enhance our combat preparedness” and help the forces ward off threats to national security in the face of “multi-dimensional” challenges. “We need to accordingly equip ourselves with state-of-the-art weapons, and hone our skills through relentless training to deliver the required response to our adversaries, when the need arises,” she said.