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India, Japan kick start 2-week military exercise

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Japan on Sunday kicked-off a two-week military exercise in Rajasthan's Mahajan field firing range to foster deeper cooperation in confronting common security challenges.

The exercise 'Dharma Guardian' between the Indian Army and the Japan Ground Self Defence Force is being conducted under the broad framework of India-Japan strategic cooperation, officials said.

It is an annual exercise and conducted alternatively in India and Japan.

The contingent of both sides comprises 40 personnel each.

The Japanese contingent is being represented by troops from the 34th Infantry Regiment and the Indian Army contingent is being represented by a battalion from the Rajputana Rifles, the officials said.

"The aim of the exercise is to foster military cooperation and enhance combined capabilities to execute joint operations," the Indian Army said.

It said the exercise would focus on "high degree of physical fitness, joint planning, joint tactical drills and basics of special arms skills".

"Tactical drills to be practiced during the exercise will include establishing of temporary operating base, creating an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance grid, setting up mobile vehicle check post, executing cordon and search operations in a hostile village and heliborne operations," the Army said in a statement.

An exhibition of weapons and equipment will also be organised to showcase the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' initiative and the growing defence industrial capability of the country, it said.

Lt Gen Togashi Yuichi, the Commanding General, Eastern Army, Japan Ground Self Defence Force, is also scheduled to visit India during the exercise.

"Exercise 'Dharma Guardian' will enable the two sides to share their best practices in tactics, techniques and procedures of conducting tactical operations," the Army said.

"The exercise will also facilitate developing inter-operability, bonhomie and camaraderie between troops of both the sides. This will enhance the level of defence cooperation, further fostering bilateral relations between the two friendly nations," it said.

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