The Indian Army is currently engaged in bilateral exercises with five countries under way both inside and outside the country meant to improve interoperability. The 18th edition of India-U.S. Army exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ which is under way at Auli in Uttarakhand, about 100 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), has entered the validation phase and is set to conclude later this week.
Other ongoing exercises are ‘Ex Austra Hind’ with Australia at Mahajan field firing ranges in Rajasthan from November 28 to December 11 and ‘Ex Agni Warrior’ with Singapore at Deolali from November 13 to December 3. The outgoing exercises are ‘Ex Harimau Shakti’ with Malaysia from November 28 to December 12 and ‘Ex Garuda Shakti’ with Indonesia, between Special Forces began on November 21. ‘Ex KazInd’ with Kazakhstan is scheduled in mid-December.
“Yudh Abhyas reinforces our commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and improves interoperability with our Indian Army partners,” U.S. Army Pacific, the Army service component command to the Indo-Pacific Command. This is the first exercise to be held at the newly set up foreign training node at Auli in Uttarakhand located at an altitude of 9,200 feet.
Indian Army soldiers from 9 Assam Regiment and U.S. Army soldiers of 40th Cavalry Regiment under 2nd Brigade of the 11th Airborne Division are taking part in the exercise. The previous edition of the exercise was held at Alaska, U.S., in October 2021.
In an interesting development, U.S. Army Pacific said that in full view of Nanda Devi in the tallest mountain range in the world, Capt. Cerruti, Lt. Russell, Lt. Brown and Lt. Hack became the first four U.S. Army Officers “to be promoted in the Himalayas” during ‘Ex Yudh Abhyas’.
In a sign of increasing commonality of platforms at various levels, Indian soldiers used Sig Saur assault rifles procured from U.S. while India Air Force deployed a Chinook heavy-lift helicopter on a Combat Enabling Operation as part of the exercise. Indian Army showcased in action how it is trained birds, kites, to counter the increasing threat of drones.
The training schedule focuses on employment of an Integrated Battle Group (IBG) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Mandate and will include all operations related to peace keeping and peace enforcement, the Army said in addition to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Soldiers attended expert demonstrations and lectures on avalanche rescue, counter-IED operations, HADR and a route opening demonstration.
“The scope of the field training exercise includes validation of IBGs, force multipliers, establishment and functioning of surveillance grids, validation of operational logistics, mountain warfare skills, casualty evacuation and combat medical aid in adverse terrain and climatic conditions,” the Army said in a statement.
With Australia, this is the first exercise in the series of ‘Austra-Hind’ with participation of all arms and services contingent from both armies, the Army said. “The exercise will be a yearly event that will be conducted alternatively in India and Australia,” it stated.
The Australian Army contingent comprising soldiers from 13th Brigade of 2nd Division is exercising with troops from the Indian Army’s Dogra Regiment. The aim of the exercise is to build positive military relations, imbibe each other’s best practices and promote the ability to operate together while undertaking multi-domain operations in semi-desert terrain under a U.N. peace enforcement mandate,” the Army said.
Training on new generation equipment and specialist weapons, including snipers, surveillance and communication equipment, to achieve a “high degree of situational awareness” apart from casualty management, casualty evacuation and planning logistics at Battalion and Company level are also planned.
Vice-Chief of Indian Army Lt. Gen. B. S. Raju reviewed ‘Ex Agni Warrior’ with Singapore at Deolali on Monday. “The Vice-Chief witnessed the live firing and appreciated the participating troops for professional acumen and expertise,” the Army said.
‘Exercise Harimau Shakti -2022’ is under way at Pulai, Kluang, Malaysia, and the annual training event has been ongoing since 2012. Troops of Garhwal Rifles of Indian Army are exercising with the Royal Malay Regiment of the Malaysian Army to share experiences gained during operations in order to “enhance inter-operability in planning and execution of various operations in jungle terrain.” “The scope of this exercise involves a command planning exercise at the Battalion level and company level field training exercise on sub-conventional operations in jungle terrain,” the Army said.
In Indonesia, the 8th edition of Garuda Shakti is under way at Sangga Buana training area at Karawang aimed at enhancing understanding, cooperation and interoperability between the Special Forces of both armies.
The scope of the 13 day joint exercise includes orientation to advance special forces skills, sharing of information on weapon, equipment, innovations, tactics, techniques and procedures and lessons learnt from various operations undertaken, Special Forces Operations in Jungle terrain, strikes on terrorist camps and a validation exercise integrating basic and advance special forces skills.
The joint exercise will facilitate both armies to share their wide experiences and combat experience on “countering terrorist operations, regional security operations and peace keeping operations in an international environment,” the Army added.