Flurry of wargames on anvil to boost military diplomacy

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by neo29, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    Indian armed forces have chalked out a stunning round of combat exercises with foreign forces in the coming several months to use “defence diplomacy” as a tool to bolster national security as well as promote strategic cooperation.

    Defence ministry officials say the 1.13-million Army alone has planned 14 to 18 exercises with countries ranging from the US, UK and Russia to Bangladesh, Mongolia, Thailand and Tajiskistan, both at home and abroad.

    For instance, the armies of Seychelles and Singapore will be in Belgaum and Deolali in January for joint combat exercises with Indian soldiers.

    Similar is the case with Navy and IAF. Indian warships will hold combat manoeuvres with French warships, including nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, during the “Varuna” wargames on the high seas in January.

    “Indian and French navies and air forces have build a high-level of interoperability through such exercises…We have a strategic partnership,” said visiting French chief of defence staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud.

    The US, of course, is leading the charge in this “interoperability” game, with Indian and American armed forces holding a staggering 60 or so wargames over the last decade.

    Many more are in the offing. After the `Malabar’ naval wargames on the western coast, the “Habu Nag” amphibious exercise at Okinawa (Japan) and the “Vajra Prahar” counter-terrorism drills at Belgaum earlier in the year, around 200 Indian soldiers are now leaving for Alaska to take part in the “Balance Iroquois” exercise with American special forces.

    Despite defence minister A K Antony always being eager to downplay the expansive Indo-US defence relationship, the armed forces of the two nations have set a scorching pace in their bilateral engagement. Of the 64 exercises conducted by the Army between 2001 and 2009, well over one-third were with the US.

    “The US is the only superpower around…We learn a lot from exercising with them. With the vast counter-insurgency experience of our professional forces, we also teach them a lot,” said a senior officer.

    “In fact, many countries want to learn counter-terrorism as well as mountain and jungle warfare skills from us. The aim is to learn doctrinal and operational lessons from each other,” he added.

    The wargames come at a time when two major exercises are underway in India. “Indra” is taking place with Russia at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand, with crack troops from the Indian 99 Mountain Brigade and Russian 34 Independent Mountain Infantry Brigade.

    Incidentally, the two countries are scheduled to hold another big exercise next year.

    Indra-Dhanush air combat wargames between IAF and British Royal Air Force are on at Kalaikunda airbase in West Bengal. While RAF has deployed its spanking new Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, E-3D AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and VC-10 mid-air refuellers, IAF is participating with Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s, MiG-27s and the Phalcon AWACS.

    “The exercise will prove to be a boon for both nations to finetune their procedures for multi-national operations, which are likely to happen with greater frequency in the future,” said Eastern Air Command deputy-chief Air Marshal L K Malhotra.

  3. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

    Aug 20, 2010
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    Gangtok, Sikkim, India
    I still think that we're going a littel tooo fast with US and need to slow down a bit to see a more responsive president in the forthcoming US elections rather than pushing dust under the carpet and continue to pretend loving sinophile Obama.

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