Joint exercise to be held at Nahan in Himachal Pradesh
Last year, India and Australia navies held joint drills in Bay of Bengal
New Delhi: A year after their navies first practiced anti-submarine warfare drills, India and Australia will now hold their first-ever joint land combat exercise in October this year, as part of their long-term strategy to boost ties.
An Indian Army statement said on July 14 that its chief General Dalbir Singh is touring Australia, and he extended the invitation to the Australian Army to participate in the joint special forces training exercise. The exercise will be held at Nahan in Himachal Pradesh.
India is now building up on its defence ties with Australia, a nation that strides both the Indian and the Pacific Oceans, to strengthen cooperation on maritime security, intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism.
This year’s special forces exercise between the two nations would focus on jungle warfare, to achieve interoperability in special operations and drills across platforms. The exercise will involve airborne insertions into a jungle terrain, training and survival,
Last October-November, the navies from the two nations had their first-ever maritime combat drills off Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal. Prior to that, the two navies had exercised in a multi-lateral setting during the 2007 five-nation ‘Malabar‘ exercise off Chennai in the Bay of Bengal.
The 2007 exercise had drawn verbal fire from Beijing, which saw the multilateral setting involving India, U.S., Japan, Australia and Singapore as a grouping trying to curb the clout that a militarily-growing China was achieving in the Indian Ocean Region. Later that year, China sailed out its first warship into the Indian Ocean Region, under the pretext of anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Japan is now a permanent fixture in the Malabar exercise since 2015, while the 2016 edition, being the 20th of the Malabar series, was held in China’s backyard off Japanese islands in the Western pacific in mid-June.
Indian warships are returning to India after nearly a two-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific region, exercising with other nations too along the voyage such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
During the visit, General Dalbir Singh was also briefed on the largest Australian Amphibious Ship HMAS Adelaide during this tour, when he also visited the Australian School of Military Engineering and the Joint Operational Command headquarters.