New Delhi: In a reflection of their growing cooperation in the war against terror, British and Indian Special Forces will carry out mountain warfare manoeuvres in Ladakh near the Chinese border next month.
A batch of Royal Marines and Indian para-commandos will take part in the 10-day rigorous joint exercise in Himalayan terrain that has an uncanny resemblance to the rugged Afghan highlands.
The exercise, which will commence in mid-September, will be only the second such joint manoeuvres held in the frontier region. Indian and US Special Forces held mountain warfare exercises in the same region last year, raising eyebrows in Beijing.
Most of the 60-strong British Marine force taking part in the exercise have been drawn from contingents that have had an operational stint in Afghanistan.
Defence ministry sources said the exercise would also bring into play transport aircraft from the Indian and Royal Air Force for aerial and heliborne operations.
British troops are not the only forces with which the Indian Army would have joint exercise in the coming months. Beginning next month, the Army will be engaged in a string of war games with several countries.
Indian armed forces’ forte in combating terrorism has apparently attracted a number of nations. Major powers like the US, Britain, Russia and China as well as smaller countries like Seychelles and Thailand have evinced interest in carrying out counter-insurgency exercises with India.
Days after Indian forces wind up the manoeuvres with British troops, a contingent of the army will travel to Chengdu region in China, bordering Arunachal Pradesh, for first counter-insurgency war game with the Red Army.
The week-long exercise will comprise cordon and search operations and other tactics refined over recent years by the Indian Army in combating terrorists.
It will be the first exercise between the two armies that had been locked in confrontation for more than four decades across their common Himalayan frontier.
Simultaneously, crack Indian paratroopers will fly to Russia to carry out search and destroy exercises in the Pskov region deep in the northwestern part of the country from September 16 to 18.
Indra-2007, as the wargame has been codenamed, will be held in the headquarters of Russia’s elite airborne division, situated only a few dozen kilometres from the enlarged NATO borders of Estonia and Lithuania.
The Indo-Russia war game will come close on the heels of a multi-nation anti-terrorism war game currently on in the Ural mountains and involving forces from Moscow, Beijing and four Central Asian republics comprising the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Indian and American Special Forces are also currently carrying out anti-terrorism manoeuvres in the army’s specialised jungle warfare school at Varangte in Mizoram.