US, China to join Indian Army in major exercises

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 27: Eighteen nations from ‘Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’ Plus including United States, China and Russia will participate in the largest `Multinational Field Training Exercise’ being conducted at Pune from March 2.
Sources here told the Excelsior that the week-long exercises will last till March 8 and will be held at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering in Pune. Theme of the exercise has been `Humanitarian Mine Action’ (HMA) and `Peacekeeping Operations’ (PKO).
“This will be the maiden multinational exercise ever conducted by the ground on Indian soil, which will see participation of 18 ASEAN Plus nations including United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea among others,” sources said, adding the exercises have been named as `Exercise FORCE 18′.
Pointing out that essence of the exercises would be to learn and share the best practices with the other Armies of the world and display our commitment for peace and stability in the region, sources said troops of all the countries will gain immensely from the experience of each other.
“The military exercise gained significance in view of the participation of several top countries especially United States, China and Russia. All participating nations will share the experience in the exercises and other aspects during the week-long event,” sources said.
Teams from some of the countries have started reaching the venue of exercises while others will reach on March 1, a day in advance when the exercises were scheduled to begin.
“As a testimony to the team spirit and achieving of global jointmanship, a unique feature has been embedded in the execution of Exercise Force 18 i.e. to train the foreign trainers of the ASEAN Plus countries for one week before the commencement of actual exercise,” sources said.
In this regard, over 25 foreign trainers have already arrived in Pune. The trainers, who have experience in the field of `Humanitarian Mine Action’ and `Peacekeeping Operations’, were being trained by the Indian Army presently.
“The training of trainers would facilitate bringing all foreign trainers on an optimum threshold level, conversion of training material into native language and understand the conduct of actual `Field Training Exercises’. The trainers would thus form a dynamic role to cater for the challenges caused by language barriers and formulate common operating procedures for various activities to be conducted during the main exercises,” sources said.
The foreign trainers were briefed by Brigadier Alok Chandra, Commander of Shivneri Infantry Brigade. The trainers were later oriented to all the training and administrative infrastructure created for the mega exercise, sources said, adding the step by Indian Army would further strengthen the motto of ASEAN “One Vision, One Identity and One Community’.
It may be mentioned here that only last year, India and China had held joint military exercises including counter-terrorism drills for over one week.


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