Sudarshan Shakti was devised with the aim to test new doctrinal shifts within the Indian armed forces to see how well the services could integrate and utilize resources leveraging modern warfighting technologies. (Around 60,000 troops, 120 artillery guns, and 300 tanks were reported to be participating in the Nov-Dec 2011 exercise along aircraft such as the Su-30MKI, Jaguars, Mig-27, Mig-21 and AWACS)
The exercise is the result of the Transformation Study produced by a team of generals led by COAS (2010-12) Gen. V.K. Singh whose main effort was focused on fighting two and a half fronts — i.e. potential conflicts with Pakistan and China as well as India’s internal COIN in the east. More specifically, the army wants to be organized in a way that it can operate with assets on two fronts independently. (This is one reason why the army has been after further air assets in budget wars with the air force.)
This exercise represents the first major strategic shift since the Gen K. Sundarji created a strategy in the 1980s to respond to a Pakistani strike based around an Army divided into defensive and strike corps. (However, as many commentators have pointed out, the Sundarji doctrine didn’t exactly work out during 2001’s Operation Parakram, hence the development of India’s so-called Cold Start doctrine)
With the Cold Start doctrine and India’s Transformation Study, the army hopes to create greater offensive capabilities but now with the use of new technology for greater integration and faster mobilization.