India to Conduct Joint Exercise to Boost Diplomacy

By admin • October 25th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi – A host of joint military exercises or ‘wargames’ have been envisaged by the Indian Armed Forces in the coming months with various countries including Asian nations, European nations as well as the US.

Currently, two major exercises are taking place in India including the “Indra” wargames between India and Russia in Uttarakhand and ‘Indra-Dhanush’ air combat wargames between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and British Royal Air Force (RAF) in West Bengal. The former has crack troops from the Indian 99 Mountain Brigade and Russian 34 Independent Mountain Infantry Brigade as participants and for the latter, the British RAF has deployed its Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, E-3D AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and VC-10 mid-air refuellers. As for the IAF, it is participating with Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s, MiG-27s and the Phalcon AWACS.

Apart from these ongoing joint military exercises, the near future will unfold greater military exercises between India and other countries that will not only heighten multi-national military operations but also prove beneficial to India in terms of national security.

In the agenda of joint exercises for the Indian Navy is the ‘Varuna’ war-games wherein the Indian warships will hold combat manoeuvres with French warships, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. These exercises are slated for January next year. Some of the recently concluded naval exercises include the `Malabar’ naval wargames on the western coast and the “Habu Nag” amphibious exercise at Okinawa in Japan.

As for the Indian Army, it has already planned roughly 18 combat exercises with various countries in the coming months. Currently, Indian and American special forces are engaged in the “Vajra Prahar” counter-terrorism exercise at the Belgaum commando school in Karnataka. In addition, a large Indian contingent of around 200 personnel will be leaving for Alaska to take part in the “Balance Iroquois” wargames.

Although India may still be wary of signing the three bilateral military pacts being pushed by the US, the surge of joint combat exercises between the two countries continues without any problems. In the last decade, India and the US have held over 60 exercises. While India is keen to gain the practical experience of learning through military wargames, the US is also particularly interested in gaining from the expertise that India has in terms of various operations like IED detection and other valuable military knowledge that India possesses due to its constant counter-insurgency and other sensitive border operations. India is also famous for mountain and jungle warfare skills and other countries are keen to gain from that experience.

Indo-US military exchanges reached an all time high considering the number of joint military exercises held in 2010.The Indian and US armies undertook nine joint exercises in India by mid 2010 alone while the air forces and the navies of both the nations have also carried out a number of similar programmes in this year. The joint drills between India and US were decided by the Executive Steering Group (ESG) attended by the top brass of the Indian Army as well as the US Army Pacific, Marine Forces Pacific and the Special Operations Command.

Source: India Defence Online

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