The Indian Army will be participating in two separate wargames starting today with Russia as well as Mongolia. The military exercise with Russia will start tomorrow at a training range in Republic of Buryatia in South East of Russia, while the other exercise, codenamed ‘Nomadic Elephant’, with Mongolia will start today in Belgaum in Karnataka. While the army-to-army exercise with Russia will focus on counter-terrorism, the one with Mongolia will sharpen counter insurgency skills and enhance training infrastructure for UN peacekeeping missions.
Indian Army’s exercise with Russia will be a debut exercise involving counter-terrorism wargames. The wargames will involve tanks and armoured fighting vehicles to be held close to Moscow's boundary with China. This exercise will be the fourth round of army-to-army exercise between the two Armies and will involve over 250 troops.
According to officials, the main objective of the Indo-Russian exercise is to be prepared for anti-terrorist operations to eliminate terrorist groups and also to conduct recce and search actions and isolation of terrorist groups. The exercise will play out counter-terrorism operations by mechanised heavy combat group as per the UN mandate.
Additional Director General (Mechanised Forces) Maj Gen R S Chand will lead the Indian contingent with troops from 14 Mechanised Infantry, 16 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and troops from Parachute Regiment, Artillery and the Army Medical Corps. An Indian Air Force (IAF) Ilyushin-76 aircraft will also be the part of the exercise which ends on August 16.
On the other hand, Indian Army will also be participating in joint military exercise called ‘Nomadic Elephant’ with the Mongolian Army in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The idea is to hone skills in counter-insurgency operations and increase synergy between the two armies. The drill will also focus especially on the needs of peacekeeping missions under the UN flag.
The ‘Nomadic Elephant’ exercise will witness the participation of 44 specially selected troops from the Jat Regiment of the Indian Army. The Mongolian Army will be represented by 38 personnel and for over 10 days they will participate in several counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations in Belgaum, Army officials said here. The joint exercise will also aim at conducting special sessions to modernise Mongolian Defence establishment.
India and Mongolia held their first joint exercise in 2004 and the joint drills are being held every year. While the joint drills were held at the Mizoram-based Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) at Vairnagte in 2005, the next drill was conducted in Mongolia in 2008.
Besides the joint exercises, the two nations have also successfully been conducting visits and exchanges of senior military officials Last year, India and Mongolia also established a joint working group to plan details of defense cooperation, including holding regular joint exercises.