India will conduct three major military exercises with the United States, Russia and Japan next month, in keeping with its balanced and inclusive strategic construct.
The one with Japan will happen for the first time following defence ministerial talks between the two countries in August. Taking their military cooperation forward, India and Japan will hold their first joint army exercise called ‘Dharma Guardian-2018’.
Involving the Indian Army and Japan’s Ground Self Defence Force, the exercise will be held at the Counter-Insurgency Warfare School in Vairengte, Mizoram, from November 1 to 14. The Army’s Eastern Command conducts its exercises at the school.
The Indian contingent will consist of troops from the 6/1Gorkha Rifles, while the Japanese contingent will be represented by the 32 Infantry Regiment.
“Emphasis will be laid on increasing interoperability between forces from both countries. 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 expertise on operational aspects,” said Col Aman Anand, Indian Army’s public relations officer.
The Indian Army, thereafter, will hold another exercise called ‘Indra’ with their Russian counterpart at Babina in Uttar Pradesh.
A contingent strength of 250 from the Army’s 5th Mechanised Infantry unit will be participating in the exercise from November 16 to 29. This drill is separate from the first tri-services exercise — also named Indra — between India and Russia held at Vladivostok in October last year.
This exercise, involving elements from the Army, Navy and Air Force for counter-terrorism training, was the first of its kind, which India had conducted with any of its foreign partners. Before this Indra was only conducted as a single service exercise between the two countries.
Coinciding with Indra, special forces from India and the US will jointly practise their clandestine and counter-terrorism skills in the ‘Vajra Prahar’ exercise at Mahajan in Rajasthan. The exercise is to be held from November 19 to December 2. This will involve special forces from the Army.
It will come in the backdrop of India and the US having agreed at the 2+2 dialogue last month to hold their first joint tri-services exercise. This will be second such exercise to be conducted by India after the one with Russia. The Indo-US exercise is scheduled to be conducted off India’s eastern coast next year. The two countries also annually conduct the ‘Yudh Abhyas’ exercise between their armies and ‘Malabar’, a naval exercise involving Japan as well. Now, with the latest exercise to be held with Japan, India is aiming at deepening its strategic ties, including better defence cooperation with the country.