Exercises with Indian Army much in demand

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by JAYRAM, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    Mar 27, 2012 - Anil Bhat

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    The most colourful event ever since friendly foreign countries’ armies began joint exercises with Indian Army, a trend steadily increasing in frequency and force post-9/11, was Holi played by the Indian and the US Armies’ personnel during Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2011-2012. For American soldiers, on whose faces the red, yellow and green dry colours got quite highlighted, it was undoubtedly a unique experience. The US troops were from 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, US Army Pacific (USARPAC), Hawaii, along with a platoon of Stryker Recon, Armoured Personnel Carriers and support equipment, exercised together with their Indian Army counterparts at Mahajan ranges in Rajasthan’s desert.

    Part of an ongoing series of the joint exercises between the Indian and the United States Armies since 2005, agreed upon under the New Framework of India-US Defence Relationship, Exercise Yudh Abhyas series began at the platoon-level exercise and graduated to a command post (CPX) and field training exercise (FTX). The seventh edition of Yudh Abhyas conducted in two locations under the South Western Command. The US Army contingent from USARPAC, had in its CPX an engineer brigade headquarters with its planners from both sides, while the FTX comprised troops of 2nd Squadron 14th US Cavalry Regiment from 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii, along with the platoon of Strykers, and a similar sized Indian Army contingent of mechanised infantry.

    The exercise was all the more interesting as a number of key surveillance, communications and lED detection and neutralisation technologies available with both sides, were being fielded in it. On March 13, the two sides executed a joint cordon and search drill to neutralise suspected insurgents in a specially constructed training area set up in an abandoned village at the ranges. The drill, code named Desert Lark, saw the Indian and the US troops establish a cordon in their combat vehicles at night and then conduct dismounted searches by day to flush out insurgents as helicopters hovered overhead. The CPX (Sarvada Saviours) at Bathinda, focused on the challenges faced by sappers (army engineers) in countering threats of IEDs, infrastructure development in strife torn regions and inaccessible areas and execution of rescue and relief operations during natural calamities or disasters. The exercise provided an excellent opportunity to both sides to understand functioning of Engineer Brigades with special emphasis on operations under United Nations mandate in troubled areas.

    Praising the professionalism of the Indian Infantry soldiers, the leader of the Indonesian troops, Col. Gatot observed that the Indian troops are very well equipped to fight the insurgents. While finding some of the training tactics very similar, he said that the concept of “Buddy” system in the Indian Army was something they would like to emulate. “Back home we operate in big groups,” he says.
    An Indian Army team visited Russia in February to hold discussions with its counterparts to plan, prepare for and reconnoitre the area where Ex Indra 2012 is scheduled to be held around the middle of the year. Since 2003, India and Russia have conducted five of the INDRA-series joint ground and naval exercises. The last such exercise held between the Army units of the two countries was in India in October 2010.

    In August 2011, Indian Army’s 3rd Battalion, the Bihar Regiment, conducted joint counter insurgency operation exercise code-named Ajeya Warrior with British troops from 19 Light Brigade on Salisbury Plain. It did not take long for the “insurgents”, played by soldiers from B. (Rorke’s Drift) Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, to be overcome and captured. The Welsh soldiers were impressed by the professionalism of the Indian soldiers. ”

    In October 2011, the 15-day first-ever Indo-French military exercise, “Shakti 11”, ended with French Army showing its Indian counterparts how paragliding could be successfully implemented to launch offensive against enemies, silently. “The aerial attacks (using paragliders), if implemented, cut time to move troops from one place to another in hilly terrains,” said Maj. Gen. Rajesh Shah Arya, GOC of a Mountain Division.

    French Army personnel, too, had a lot to take home considering Indian Army’s experience in all kinds of terrains. The mission was jointly prepared by both the armies as the troops effortlessly glided their way through the mountainous region as part of the mission.
    In the years following 9/11 the responses from highly-developed to small nations ranging from US, UK, France, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Maldives, Seychelles, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, has been “simply overwhelming”, according to some officers this writer interacted with. Over six decades of Indian Army’s hard experience and expertise in all kinds of operations, including countering insurgency and terrorism in all kinds of terrain and temperatures as well as in rural, semi-urban and urban settings has led to many countries sending requests for undergoing training in Indian Army’s battle schools and for holding joint exercises with it.

    While training institutes of Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard as well as tri-service institutes have been in great demand by the highly developed nations as well as the developing ones to send their officers and personnel below officer rank since Independence, after 9/11, the demand to hold joint exercises with Indian Army and to do courses at its training institutes shot up significantly owing to the spread of the kind of terrorism India has been the target of, decades before 9/11. This year onwards there may be as many as 20 counties or more requesting for joint exercises with Indian Army.

    (Anil Bhat, a retired Army officer, is a defence and security analyst based in New Delhi)

    Exercises with Indian Army much in demand | The Asian Age
     
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  3. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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