Gajner (Bikaner), Oct 24 (ANI) Indian and Russian troops are currently participating in a joint military drill at the Mahajan Field Firing Range near India-Pakistan border in Thar desert of Rajasthan.
The aim is to improve capabilities for carrying out anti-terrorist operations and to carry forward the essence of a UN peace keeping environment, particularly in a situation resembling what prevails in South Sudan where Indian troops are deployed and are facing similar obstacles.
Over 250 troops of both sides are engaged in this field exercise, which kicked off here on October 22. The main aim of the joint military drill is to carry out an anti-terrorist operation, involving the destruction of illegal armed formations.
Brigadier V.M Chandran, Commander, 6th Independent Armed Brigade, said the essence of the exercise was how best to function in a UN peacekeeping environment.
“We have factored this in such a way that we did it in Mahajan which is the best place to do this exercise. When we thought about this exercise, it was something akin to South Sudan, which is where we are still operating,” he said.
Disclosing brief details of the terrain, Brigadier Chandran said Chidasa village has been made to resemble places in South Sudan.
“This village has always been used for such exercises and we planned and constructed the houses in such a way that it’s akin to the buildings of South Sudan,” he added.
A Lt. Colonel was among the five Indian Army personnel killed in April this year, when their 32-member convoy came was attacked in Gurmuck in the volatile state of Jonglei, South Sudan. Four other personnel were injured in the attack. There are around 2,200 Indian army personnel operating in Sudan.
As part of the joint military drill, the two sides will engage themselves in Exercise Gangnega on Friday, which will for the first time, have both the troops mixed together doing joint operations, engaging in live firing exercises and consolidation.
The Russian troops will be using Indian military equipment, including the T-72 and BMP-2, in this drill that is also aimed to facilitate a better understanding and synergy between the two sides.
“This is the first time that troops of both countries will be mixed together to conduct operations. Here is where joint manship and integration comes that an Indian commander should be able to give orders to his Russian teammate who is taking part in this exercise, and the same way a Russian commander should be able to give orders to his Indian teammate,” said Brigadier Chandran.
The joint military drill has already witnessed Exercise Vidhural, wherein troops of both nations were engaged in combat shooting and clearing villages and capturing assumed rebels.
This exercise assumes significance in wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to Moscow where both nations called for joint action against terrorism. By Amit Shankar (ANI)