Thursday, September 16, 2010

Govt revises Union War Book to meet current situation

The government has quietly gone in for a major revision of the Union War Book,a classified voluminous document which lays down the exact role each government ministry,department and wing will play in times of war,to better reflect the current security scenario and ground situation. The revision in the Union War Book even came up for mention during the annual combined commanders conference,attended by PM Manmohan Singh and other senior ministers,which ended here on Tuesday. The entire Govt machinery, from the armed forces to the railways,civil aviation,shipping,surface transport,health and the like,has to be mobilised in the event of a war, said a top official.

Times,tactics and doctrines have changed since the Union War Book,which has been in existence since the days of the British Raj,was last revised years ago.Primarily carried out by the defence and home ministries as well as the Cabinet Secretariat,the update caters for all this, he added. The new Union War Book,which is with the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) for the final nod,lays down action plans in minute details to meet any contingency during war.

It spells out,for instance,how air,train and other services will be commandeered in times of national emergency.It also provides the basis for forward deployment of military assets like the movement of a Mirage-2000 fighter squadron from Gwalior to say Ambala or Leh. Its the Bible for us.All commanding officers get extracts,marked secret/topsecret,which flow from the Union War Book about where his unit will be stationed and what role it will play during war, said an Army officer.

The Union War Book was last taken up for implementation during Operation Parakram,the 10-monthlong forward troop mobilisation launched in the aftermath of the Dec.2001 terrorist attack on Parliament,when India almost went to war with Pakistan.

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