In an extraordinary display of military prowess, the Indian Air Force (IAF) initiated a sweeping combat training exercise along the formidable China-Pakistan borders in the northern and western sectors. This operation, codenamed “Trishul,” orchestrated by the Western Air Command (WAC), the preeminent IAF command, encompasses a vast geographical expanse, stretching from the icy terrains of Ladakh to the arid expanses of Rajasthan.
The orchestration of this strategic training maneuver coincides with India’s imminent role as the host nation for the G20 summit, scheduled for the upcoming weekend. This initiative comes as India’s persistent military standoff with China in the treacherous terrain of eastern Ladakh enters its fourth year.
The primary objective of the extensive 10-day “Trishul” exercise is to assess the WAC’s comprehensive state of combat readiness. A diverse array of military assets has been meticulously deployed for this annual drill, comprising a formidable air fleet inclusive of the likes of Rafales, Jaguars, MiG-29s, and Sukhoi-30MKIs, alongside crucial transport aircraft, including C-130Js and C-17s. Furthermore, the exercise incorporates the deployment of state-of-the-art surface-to-air guided weaponry, such as the indomitable S-400s, MR-SAMS, and Akash missile systems.
It is imperative to note that a brief operational hiatus is anticipated during the high-intensity aerial maneuvers due to the forthcoming G20 summit set to transpire in New Delhi on the 9th and 10th of September. In anticipation of this international conclave, the IAF has undertaken a robust fortification of the airspace above the Delhi-National Capital Region, ensuring its inviolability.
Concurrently, the Indian Army has sprung into action, with units from the nation’s two specialized mountain strike corps, namely the 1 Corps and 17 Corps, each comprising a formidable force of approximately 70,000 soldiers armed to the teeth for high-altitude warfare. These units are presently engaged in rigorous training exercises within their designated operational domains. While the 1 Corps, headquartered in Mathura, now pivots its focus toward the northern sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), 17 Corps, based in Panagarh, has reoriented its objectives to emphasize a strike role within the eastern sector, including the formidable Chumbi Valley opposite Sikkim.
It is with great concern that we observe the absence of any discernible signs of de-escalation in the ongoing confrontation in eastern Ladakh. Regrettably, China remains obstinate in its refusal to initiate troop disengagement, particularly at pivotal locations such as the strategically-located Depsang Bulge and the Charding Ninglung Nallah track junction near Demchok. This protracted face-off continues to witness both nations deploy more than 50,000 soldiers each, along with an arsenal of formidable military hardware, comprising tanks, artillery batteries, and surface-to-air guided weaponry, since the ominous month of May in 2020.