Indian Army on an Exercise Spree

Contributing to the Indian diplomatic and strategic outreach, Indian Army, in last one month, has been involved in various bilateral and multi-lateral exercises

Issue: 4 / 2018By Rohit Srivastava

In last few years, the number and duration of bilateral military exercises between India and other friendly nations have seen exponential rise. In the last one month Indian Army has been involved in five major exercises including the inaugural BIMSTEC military exercise.

Inaugural MILEX-18 comes to an end

The week long inaugural Military Field Training Exercise for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technological and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) nations named ‘MILEX-18’, after a Validation Exercise and an impressive Closing Ceremony held at Foreign Training Node, Aundh Military Station, Pune, on September 16.

Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre presided over the closing ceremony which attended by “other dignitaries including Shahidul Islam, General Secretary of BIMSTEC forum, Service Chiefs of BIMSTEC nations, senior Military officers of the Indian Army and representatives of the BIMSTEC Nations.”

Speaking on the occasion, Bhamre said, “The MILEX-18 Exercise has provided us all an opportunity to discuss the issue of Countering Terrorism from the military point of view with an endeavour to create synergy, better understanding and evolving of an institutionalised mechanism for regional cooperation in the field of Counter Terrorist Operations.

During the Validation Exercise, tactical drills such as Hostage Rescue by insertion of troops from helicopters, Room Intervention as well as House Clearing Drill as part of Cordon and Search Operations, Raid on a Terrorist Hideout and neutralisation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were carried out.

The purpose of the exercise was to “demonstrated the commitment and capabilities” of the participating armies while working together to fight terrorism.

The exercise was followed by an exhibition organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) where more than 250 indigenously developed defence equipment were displayed. “Almost 20 different agencies dealing with defence equipment participated in the display including Ordnance Factories, Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO), leading private sector companies, startups etc to showcase some of the latest weapon systems and vehicles produced indigenously.”

KAZIND – 2018 commences

India and Kazakhstan began their joint military exercise KAZIND-2018 in Otar Military Area, Kazakhastan. The two weeks long exercise is being conducted from September 10-23. “The Kazakh contingent is represented by Military Base 85395 while the Indian side is represented by 5 LADAKH SCOUTS Regiment,” Ministry of Defence said in a statement. Upon arrival of Indian contingent, “General Major Dzhumakeev Almaz, welcomed the Indian contingent and in his inaugural remarks highlighted the common shared beliefs of freedom, equality and justice that are precious to both the nations,” it said. On the inaugural day, the sides briefed each other on their organizational structure. The Kazak army also displayed its weapons and equipments used at the sub-unit level.

“Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario. Ex KAZIND-2018 will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military,” the statement added.

SCO Peace Mission 2018

The latest edition of the ‘Peace Mission’ series of exercise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) started on August 24 at Chebarkul, Russia. “The exercise will provide an opportunity to the armed forces of SCO nations to train in counter terrorism operations in urban scenario in a multinational and joint environment. The scope of the exercise includes professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills & procedures, establishment of joint command and control structures and elimination of terrorist threat in urban counter terrorist scenario.” MoD said in a statement.

In this fifth edition of the exercise, India is participating for the first time with 200 personnel whereas Russian Army contributed 1700 personnel where as other two major players China is contributing 700 soldiers.

The focus of the exercise was on the anti-terrorist operations in a multinational joint service environment. “The exercise provided an opportunity to armies of all nations for greater cultural understanding, sharing experiences and strengthening mutual trust & cooperation. Overall SCO Peace Mission Exercise will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect amongst SCO member nations in future,” statement said.

Maitree 2018

Exercise Maitree, an Indo-Thai platoon level army exercise, was conducted between August 6-19 in Thailand. To hone the tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenario under UN mandate, Maitree 2018 aims to increasing interoperability between forces from both countries.

During the exercise the two sides jointly trained, planned and executed tactical drills of urban warfare.

The exercise began with field training familiarising each other with maneuver and operational procedures. “The second phase included practicing of various drills and tactical scenarios in counter insurgency environment, execution of tactical operations like search and destroy operation, house intervention and survival techniques. The exercise culminated with a 72 hour joint exercise on planning and execution of series of tactical operations like raid, pursuit, establishing Military Check Post and cordon and search operations,” the ministry said in a statement.

Nomadic Elephant-2018

Indo-Mongolia joint exercise Nomadic Elephant-2018, commenced at Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) Five Hills Training Area, Ullanbaatar, Mongolia, on September 10, with a brief but impressive opening ceremony. The 12 days long joint exercise concluded on September 21 September. It is an annual, bilateral exercise being conducted since 2006. It is designed to strengthen the partnership between the two armed forces. The exercise saw the two sides improve their tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenario under United Nations mandate.

The Indian was represented by a contingent of 17 PUNJAB Regiment while the Mongolian was represented by Unit 084. During the inaugural, Major General J. Badambazar welcoming the Indian contingent highlighted the common shared beliefs of freedom, equality and justice. In the opening ceremony, the sides briefed each other about their organisational structure and displayed weapons and equipments of the sub-unit level.

“During the exercise both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario. Experts from both sides will also hold detailed discussions to share their experience on varied topics for mutual benefits. Exercise Nomadic Elephant-2018 will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding & respect for each other’s military and also facilitate in tackling the world wide phenomenon of terrorism,” Ministry said in a statement.

Yudh Abhyas 2018

The 14th Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2018 a joint military exercise of Indian and US armies, commenced on September 16 Chaubattia, Uttarakhand. The two weeks long will witness participation of about 350 personnel of the US Army and similar strength of the Indian Army working together honing their counter insurgency and counter terrorism skills in mountainous terrain.

“The exercise curriculum is progressively planned where the participants are initially made to get familiar with each other’s organisational structure, weapons, equipment, confidence training and tactical drills. Subsequently, the training advances to joint tactical exercises wherein the battle drills of both the armies are coherently unleashed. The training will culminate with a final validation exercise in which troops of both countries will jointly carry out an operation against terrorists in a fictitious but realistic setting,” Ministry said in a statement.

“Over the years the two countries have decided to progressively increase the scope and content of this joint exercise. Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2018 will witness a Division Headquarter based Command Post Exercise, an Infantry Battalion carrying out Field Training Exercise and discussions on issues of mutual interest by experts of both countries,” it added.