Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Army began a joint training with the Maldivian National Defence Forces (MNDF) in the Maldives on Saturday.

MNDF personnel have attended courses of instruction at Indian military establishments a number of times and participated in joint naval training in the past. However, this is the first time that the army is taking up a joint training programme in the Maldives.

Codenamed `EKUVERIN,' the training will involve troops from an infantry battalion from the Southern Command.

It will be carried out at the MNDF training centre on Khadhoo Island of the Maldives.

An official release said the aim of the training was to foster army-to-army cooperation and enhance inter-operability.

"The MNDF also seeks to acquire some of the Indian Army's invaluable operational experience. The training will consist of a seven-day capsule in which soldiers of both the nations would train side by side, followed by a two-day counter terrorist exercise."