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

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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

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