India was one of the founding members of non-aligned movements (NAM) and has remained neutral since then which has adversely affected Indian armed forces and limited India’s military contact with other nations. But with the changing world and regional scenario in regard of military the Indian government has changed its stance and has took steps to meet the demanding situations. One of them is to have joint military exercises with other countries.
This is a significant development towards making the forces more dynamic and better prepared for future challenges. Military exercise means to create war like scenarios and maneuver war plans to test their effectiveness. Though Indian armed forces carry out exercises on routine basis but why there’s the need for military exercises with other armies? Armies around the world have faced numerous wars which are different from each other in means of resources they fought with, terrain in which they carried out operations and the time needed to accomplish the objectives. Indian armed forces have their share of experiences but as India is neither the member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nor Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) they have not operated or trained with each other as the members of these organizations are.
To provide the Indian Armed forces with the first hand experience against World’s renowned Forces and to ensure its preparedness India started the process of joint military exercises and is carrying out various joint military exercises with US, UK, Russia, Israel, China, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and many other countries. The United States has fought numerous wars since WW II and its navy has played crucial role in it where as the Indian Navy have been passive except the Bangladesh Liberation war. With the advancement in naval technologies and hardware it is necessary to insure its effectiveness and utilization of this advancement in the time of peace and war. The Exercise Malabar with the navies of US and Japan underline the India’s effort to hone their Navy’s skills against these advanced navies. The US fleet included aircraft carrier, nuclear submarines and destroyers. India is new in the club of nuclear submarines and these kind of first hand experiences will significantly lead to better operability and understanding of these complex systems in war like situations. Also these exercises had lead to better coordination among these Navies whose practical implications can be seen in Gulf of Aden which is facing the threat of piracy and Indian Navy with other forces is working in tandem to ensure the security of region and has successfully foiled many attempts of piracy. The purpose of joint military exercises is to be benefitted by each other’s expertise in respective fields. The counter terrorism exercises had helped the Indian forces to better understand the urban warfare and Indian forces has effectively implemented these tactics in Jammu & Kashmir and North-East and has significantly minimized the human and property loss. In joint military exercises the Indian armed forces are put against their counterparts and chalk out their combined plans for dealing with variety of scenarios. This gives opportunity to each side to better understand each other’s working methods, way of conducting operation and is leading to better coordination.
India is rising on the world stage and having the ambition of playing significant role in shaping the world of tomorrow. It has become necessity for us to have plans to support its ambitions. As nation is looking for greater role in Afghanistan and in South China Sea it is essential to have joint military exercises on regular basis for better collaboration with friendly nations so in the time of need our army can work jointly with other armies to address nation’s interest. The joint exercises provide chances to look into the working structure of other forces and even the smallest detail can be of vital importance in time of need. In 1976 the Air France plane was hijacked and taken to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has previously worked with Ugandan Army and was aware of the fact that Ugandan Army personnel were fearful of their President Idi Amin. The IDF used this fact as advantage and while the operation began they used convoy like that of President Amin, disguised the Ugandan Army personnel and were nearly able to keep the element of surprise and saved the hostage. As the world scenario is changing there is a possibility of Indian Armed forces working with other armies. So these exercises will keep armed forces in good shape and prepared for future challenges.