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Indian Army begins drills with Kazakh, Mongolian armies

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Army commenced separate joint military exercises with two Central Asian countries Kazakhstan and Mongolia Tuesday, an official said, taking the number of on-going and scheduled drills with different nations, including the US, this month to four.

The exercise between the armies of India and Kazakhstan commenced Tuesday in Otar region, approximately 175 kilometres from Almaty, Kazakhstan, the Indian Army said in a statement.

The Kazakh contingent was represented by Military Base 85395, while India was represented by 5 Ladakh Scouts Regiment.

The 14-day joint training aims to promote army-to-army relations and exchange skills and experiences between Indian Army and the Kazakhstan Army.

"Due emphasis will be laid on increasing inter-operability between forces from both countries which is crucial for success of any joint operation. Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario," the statement said.

Ex KAZIND-2018 will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each others military, the statement added.

Last year, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat visited Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with an aim to bolster military ties with the Central Asian countries.

A separate joint military exercise - 'Nomadic Elephant' - between the Indian Army and the Mongolian Army, also commenced Tuesday at Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) Desert Region Training Centre in the Umnugovi province.

Nomadic Elephant is an annual, bilateral exercise designed to strengthen the partnership between the two armed forces.

"The exercise will see them improve their tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenarios under UN Mandate," the Indian Army said in a separate statement.

The Indian contingent was represented by 17 Punjab Regiment while Mongolia was represented by Unit 084.

During the exercise, both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in an urban warfare scenario, it said.

Experts from both sides will hold detailed discussions to share experience on varied topics for mutual benefits.

In April, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Mongolia, with an aim to step up cooperation with the Central Asian nation.

This month will also see joint military training 'Exercise Yudh Abhyas' between the US and India, scheduled to be conducted on the foothills of the Himalayas at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand from September 16 to 29.

This will be the 14th edition of the joint military exercise hosted alternately by the countries.

Last week, India and the US held their first 2 plus 2 Dialogue involving the principals of defence and foreign ministries of both the countries.

Militaries of BIMSTEC member-nations, barring Nepal, began a week-long anti-terror exercise Monday at Aundh near Pune to enhance cooperation in dealing with the challenge of terrorism in the region.

Indian Army officials said the exercise is focused on boosting inter-operability among the forces and exchanging best practices to contain terror-related activities.

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