Home India News Indian Army ramps up joint exercises with foreign militaries

Indian Army ramps up joint exercises with foreign militaries


New Delhi: The Indian Army has ramped up its bilateral military engagements with foreign armies, with the year 2011-12 witnessing as many as 16 joint war games, defence officials said Thursday.

The number is eight times more than what the 1.13-million-strong Indian Army was engaged in about a decade ago when it held just about a couple of joint exercises with friendly forces.

Besides joint exercises with friendly nations within its immediate neighbourhood, the Indian Army has been working on war games with strategic partners and priority nations too, officers said.

The next bilateral exercise that the Indian Army will hold will be with the French Army Oct 9-22 at Chaubatia in Uttarakhand. Called Shakti, it will be a platoon-sized counter-terrorism exercise involving troops from the Indian and French armies, the officers said.

“This is the first ever Indo-French infantry troops exercise. The planning for the exercise has been going on for months now,” an officer said here.

In fact, the Indian Army’s joint exercises with foreign, friendly forces have been in the area of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, given that India has dealt with the problem for over six decades now in the northeastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir.

India has also fought four wars — three against Pakistan and one with China — and a theatre battle with Pakistan in Kargil in 1999.

“We are a much sought after force for conventional and non-conventional battle exercises because of our vast experience in counter-insurgency operations, high altitude/mountain and jungle warfare, and tank battles,” the officer said.

Among the armies exercising with the Indian Army troopers 2011-12 are from the US, Britain, Russia, France, and Mongolia; central Asian nations Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan; southeast Asian nations Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand; and those from its neighbourhood such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, the Maldives, and the Seychelles.

“The joint exercises are a valuable means of military diplomacy, giving opportunity to our forces to interact with troops from friendly foreign nations, enabling their inter-operability in the future,” another officer said.

Only recently, about 200 Indian soldiers trained jointly with British soldiers in “Exercise Ajayee Warrior” at the Land Warfare Centre in Warminster in Britain. Another team of soldiers was in Mongolia for the “Nomadic Elephant” anti-terrorism exercises.

With the US, Indian troops carried out the “Vajra Prahar” and “Shatrujeet” exercises earlier this year and another mechanised infantry exercise “Yudh Abhyas” is slated for later.

Apart from exercise with the French forces, the Indian Army is gearing up for joint war games with Myanmar, Indonesia, Nepal, and Bangladesh in the coming months.

The India-Myanmar exercise will take place at the Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJS) in Vairengte, the officers said.

India also has specialised schools for training troops in high-altitude and mountain warfare at Sonamarg and Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir.