23 August : To further defence ties with the United Kingdom, India for the first time will send its Mechanised troops to the country to pitch their skills during land warfare exercises with their British counterparts beginning on 29th August.
"Mechanised infantry troops of the Indian Army will carry out joint training and exercises with UK Army from August 29 in that country," an Army spokesperson said in New Delhi on Friday.
Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, who will be in the UK during September on a scheduled visit, would be witnessing the Indian troops training and exercising with the British troops at the Land Warfare Centre in UK.
"These exercises and training programme was not part of our annual plan this year, but were scheduled following an invitation from the UK Army troops as a reciprocal gesture," an army official said.
The UK troops had earlier participated in joint training exercise with the Indian troops in India last year.
The Indian contingent of 126 men would be drawn from the 16 Mechanised Infantry Regiment and they would be at the Salibury Plains-based Land Warfare Centre till 19th September.
During their stay, the Indian troops would train and exercise with the British Army troops of the 3rd Mercian Regiment, an amalgamation of old British Army units that have served in India in the mid-19th Century.
The training will be at the battalion-group level and will be followed by two joint operational manoeuvres, ‘Exercise Lions Strike’ and ‘Exercise Wessex Warriors’.
Prior to the joint exercises, the Indian troops will undergo a familiarisation and interoperability training with the same British troops.
The Indian troops would also have a closer look at the state-of-the-art training simulation facilities available at the Land Warfare Centre.
"This is indeed a great opportunity for the Indian Mechanised contingent to test their capabilities with the mechanised units from the British Army," Mathur said.
The UK Army, in turn, would also benefit immensely by interacting with the Indian Army contingent, enabling interoperability between the armed forces of the two countries.
"India and UK are key strategic partners and enjoy a close defence relationship. This exercise is a great step for the armies of the two democratic countries to train together and gain from each other’s experience," Mathur added.