India’s Military Exercises with Friendly Foreign Countries
The India Army conducts joint exercises with a large number of friendly foreign countries. The aim of these exercises is to acquaint both the forces with each other’s operating procedures, weapon systems, operational drills, in addition to increased under
The aim of these exercises is to acquaint both the forces with each other’s operating procedures, weapon systems, operational drills, in addition to increased understanding and interoperability between the two armies and forging closer partnership.
Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2015
The fifth joint exercise between Indian and China, named Hand-in-Hand 2015, commenced at Kunming Military Academy, Yunnan Province, China, on October 12, 2015. The 12-day exercise laid emphasis on joint handling of counter terrorism operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The opening ceremony commenced with an impressive parade by both contingents wherein national flags of both countries were brought on parade, followed by national anthem of both countries. The combined parade was commanded by Lt Colonel Ruchir Pant of the Indian Army. A weapon and equipment display was organised to familiarise with each other’s weapon systems at subunit level. This was followed by a demonstration of skills by the Indian contingent, which enthralled the audience with a spectacular display of yoga training, energetic tribal dances of Nagaland and unarmed combat skills. The Chinese contingent displayed combat shooting and obstacle negotiation skills within the military academy premises.
Lt General Zhou Xiaozhou, head of the Chinese Observer Delegation, stated that the joint exercises play an important role in deepening mutual cooperation and forging a closer development partnership. He said that the exercise would expand the scope of military interaction, facilitate exchange of best practices in counter terrorism operations, enhance mutual understanding and trust and further promote friendly relationship between both militaries.
Ashok Kantha, the Indian Ambassador to China, emphasised the need to tackle terrorism jointly and stressed on expanding defence cooperation at all levels. Lt General Surinder Singh, head of the Indian Observer Delegation, expressed confidence that the exercise will become a landmark in the history of bilateral relations of both countries and we will continue to work together and take our traditional friendship to new heights. He stated that both countries shared common perspective regarding countering terrorism in all its manifestations. He welcomed the proposed visit of Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission to India in November 2015.
The exercise Hand-in-Hand 2015 will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military as also facilitate in tackling the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism.
Exercise Mitra Shakti 2015
The third India-Sri Lanka Joint Training Exercise Mitra Shakti 2015 culminated on October 12, 2015, after a grand closing ceremony held at Aundh Military Camp, Pune. The 14-day joint training included understanding of transnational terrorism, developing interoperability and conduct of joint tactical operations controlled by a Joint Command Post. Brigadier Tapan Lal Sah of the Indian Army and Brigadier K.P. Aruna Jayasekera of the Sri Lankan Army jointly reviewed the parade commanded by Major Ashish Kumar of the Indian Army. The Reviewing Officers as well as the Sri Lankan participating contingent were amazed when Major Ashish Kumar gave the report and sought permission to commence the proceedings from Brigadier Jayasekera in chaste Sinhalese. Martial skill display by the Indian Army added colour to the impressive parade by the joint contingent.
Brigadier Jayasekera, after addressing the parade, declared the joint training closed. Observers of both the nations which included senior military officials, were unanimous in their praise for the professionally conducted training which has resulted in instilling confidence in each other’s capability to counter the common threat of ter- ror. The exercise demonstrated the determination of the two armies in working closely with each other to eradicate the menace of terrorism in all its forms.
Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2015
The India-US combined military training Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2015 was held from September 9 to 23, 2015, at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), USA. The exercise brought together troops of an infantry subunit and a formation headquarters of the Indian Army with a similar participation from the US Army for the joint training.
The annual bilateral exercise started on September 9, 2015, and finished on September 23. It focused on combined US and Indian Army training while promoting an enduring partnership and joint interoperability. Par- ticipating soldiers trained together in lowintensity, counter-insurgency actions; civic assistance missions; and operations of quick reaction teams. Participating in the exercise were soldiers from the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), 1-23 Infantry Battalion, 593rd Expeditionary Support Command; California National Guard and 100th Troop Command. In all, about 225 American soldiers participated in the exercise with most coming from the 3-2 SBCT. From the Indian Army, soldiers from the 9 Mountain Brigade as well as from 6 Kumaon Battalion participated. About 150 Indian soldiers flew into JBLM aboard a C-17 aircraft to participate in the exercise. This was the 11th exercise in the Yudh Abhyas series, which started in 2004 under US Army Pacific partnership programme. This exercise has strengthened and broadened interoperability and cooperation between both the armies and complements a number of other exchanges between the two forces. Over the years, the two countries have decided to progressively increase the scope and content of the combined training. The exercise has provided an ideal platform for the personnel of the two countries to share their experiences in military operations in urban terrain, under the UN mandate.
Commanders and Staff Officers of both sides worked in close coordination to receive and collate intelligence and to issue suitable operational orders to the combined field training components, who in turn executed these orders on ground. The exercise curriculum was planned progressively where the participants were initially to be made familiar with each other’s organisational structure, weapons, equipment and tactical drills. Subsequently, in joint tactical exercises, battle drills of both the armies were rehearsed.
As the concluding part of the exercise a consolidation and validation exercise was witnessed by senior officers and observers of both armies, in which troops of both nations carried out subunit level operations in urban insurgency and military operations in urban terrain.
Indo-Maldives Joint Military Exercise
The sixth Indo-Maldives joint training exercise commenced on August 31, 2015, with an impressive opening ceremony at Pangode Military Station, Thiruvananthapuram. The aim of the joint exercise was to acquaint both the forces with each other’s operating procedure in addition to increased understanding and interoperability between the two armies.
A total of 45 soldiers each from the Maldivian National Defence Force and the Indian Army (Bihar Regiment) took part in this exercise. Varied training activities were conducted to enhance interoperability and jointness between the two forces. The joint training concluded with a tactical exercise.
The closing ceremony was held on September 13, 2015, and involved cultural displays by various military display teams besides aerial acrobatics display by Sarang team.
(Top) A Chinese soldier analysing bullet hits on target fired the Indian INSAS rifle during Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2015; (above) Indian Army and US Army soldiers during Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2015