India to launch major drills in Andaman Sea to enhance military synergy
Next week, India plans to carry out complex drills off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Indian forces will execute these high-intensity offensive and defensive manoeuvres in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal as part of the war games.
On Thursday, the defence ministry announced the major drill and said, “The Indian military will carry out complex drills off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands next week to fine-tune joint war-fighting capabilities and sharpen operational synergy between the three services, with the high-tempo exercise involving fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters, warships, infantry combat vehicles and elements of special forces.”
The exercise will be codenamed Kavach meaning shield. It will be conducted at a time when India and China are in a deadlock over the border issue in the eastern Ladakh region. Moreover the Indian Navy has intensified its surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). This was done to monitor China’s moves as it wants to expand its footprint in the strategic waters.
The Andamans are located more than 1,200km away from mainland India and the military drills will be conducted by the Port Blair-based Andaman and Nicobar Command—India’s only tri-services command.
The defence ministry said in a statement, “The exercise will involve synergised application of maritime surveillance assets, coordinated air and maritime strikes, air defence, submarine and landing operations.”
The exercise will cover joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks that will involve the military’s technical, electronic and human intelligence elements.
The statement further said, “The ISR exercise will validate the capabilities of intelligence gathering from space, air, land and sea-based assets/sensors, its analysis and sharing to achieve battlefield transparency for quick decision making at different stages of operations.”
This drill will deploy assets belonging to army, navy, air force and coast guard.
The exercise will involve following assets:-
- air force’s Jaguar maritime strike aircraft,
- transport aircraft,
- elements of the Indian Army’s amphibious brigade,
- anti-submarine warfare corvettes and
- amphibious warships with ship-borne helicopters of the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command.
India is conducting such exercises so that it can send out a strong message to China. It clearly says that Beijing’s power play in South China Sea cannot be replicated in the Indian Ocean.