The Indian Army will carry out a major exercise comprising more than 40,000 troops, besides several tanks, artillery guns and attack helicopters, on India’s western front with Pakistan from Wednesday.
The exercise called ‘Sindu Sudarshan-VII’ will test the ‘battle readiness’ of the 21 Corps, a ‘strike formation’ (meant for attacking in enemy territory), in an integrated air land battle scenario. This will be the second phase of the ‘corps level’ exercise, which will take place from November 13 to 18 between Barmer and Jaisalmer. The army will test its military maneuvers during this time. “These will include movements of tanks, infantry combat vehicles and artillery guns to see how they can be placed in an advantageous position during a battle scenario and then employing their firepower,” an official explained.
Firepower demonstrations of tanks and artillery guns, which was the first phase of the exercise was carried out in Pokhran last month.
The exercise will aim to show the integration between tanks including T-72, mechanised infantry including combat vehicles, artillery guns, army air defence, attack helicopters such as the armed Advanced Light Helicopter ‘Rudra’ and special forces. For the first time in an exercise, the K-9 Vajra self-propelled artillery gun, which was inducted into the army last November, is being used. The army is procuring 100 of these guns, which are a variant of the K-9 Thunder being used by the South Korean army. The air force’s assets, including close air support and combat air patrol that will have fighter jets, will also be used during the exercise.
The drill coincides with the maiden Indo-US tri-services humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) exercise called ‘Tiger Triumph’ on India’s eastern seaboard, which is also starting from Wednesday. It will end on November 21. Tiger Triumph highlights the growing synergy between the militaries of the two countries to counter China in the region. The exercise is aimed at developing interoperability for conducting HADR operations. It will simulate conducting such operations in a third country, while keeping in mind low intensity threats.
During the exercise, Indian Naval ships Jalashwa, Airavat and Sandhayak, army troops from two infantry units and Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopters and Rapid Action Medical Team (RAMT) would be participating. INS Jalashwa is a landing platform dock, which is a ship that can perform beaching operations and also carry helicopters and small landing crafts for faster transport of troops and supplies from the sea to shore and back. The helicopters on such ships plays a vital role in transporting supplies and carrying out relief and rescue on land. The US would be represented by US Navy Ship Germantown with troops from US Third Marine Division.
The ‘harbour phase’ is scheduled at Visakhapatnam from November 13 to 16. The ‘sea phase’ will involve maritime, amphibious and HADR operations at Kakinada. At the HADR exercise Area, a Joint Command and Control Centre, would be established by the Indian Army and US Marines.