India will carry out major military exercises with several countries, including Russia and China, in different frontiers next month.
The exercises are the ‘Indra’ tri-services with Russia, ‘Hand in Hand’ with China, ‘Mitra Shakti’ with Sri Lanka and ‘Surya Kiran’ with Nepal.
The Indra exercise will be held at Babina, where the army to army drills will be carried out, and the navy and air force capsules will be at Goa and Pune. All the drills will be conducted simultaneously. The exercise will take place from December 10 to 20. It will involve company level mechanised forces, including infantry combat vehicles, fighter jets and warships.
The first Indra triservices exercise with Russia was held in October 2017 at Vladivostok in eastern Russia. Then, it was the first such exercise India held with any foreign country. It focussed on counter-terrorism tactics, involving mechanised forces such as tanks and infantry combat vehicles, artillery guns, Indian Air Force transport planes and naval anti-submarine ships and special forces personnel.The exercise was held Sergeevsky 249 Combined Arms Training Area, Cape Klerk and Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan.
Separately, Indra is also held as a single service exercise between India and Russia, like it did between the armies of the two countries in Babina last year.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army will carry out the ‘Hand in Hand’ with China’s People’s Liberation Army at Umroi, Meghalaya from December 7 to 20. It is at the company level, meaning around 100-120 infantry troops from both sides will be participating. It will be based on counter-terrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The exercise was previously held in December last year at Chengdu, China. Company size contingents of the Indian Army’s 11 SIKHLI and a regiment from Tibetan Military District of the People’s Liberation Army participated in the exercise. However, it didn’t take place in 2017 due to the 72-days long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam.
The Hand in Hand comes in the backdrop of the Him Vijay exercise held in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh in October.
The seventh edition of the India-Sri Lanka joint training exercise, Mitra Shakti, will be held at the Foreign Training Node in Pune from December 1 to 14. The exercise is aimed at building better relations between the two armies, while focussing on training for counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations in urban and rural environment. The previous edition was held in Sri Lanka.
The Indian Army will also carry out the Surya Kiran exercise with the Nepal Army from December 3 to 16 in Nepal. Company level troops from both sides will participate. The previous edition was held at Pithoragarh from May to June last year.
The defence ministry stated in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that about 72 joint exercises were conducted by the army, 39 by the navy, 21 by the air force and two tri-service ones were held during the last three years.