National Defence Bureau,
Jaipur, 14 December 2017
The fortnight long exercise had commenced on 01 December in the same location. The closing ceremony was attended by observers and senior military dignitaries from both the Armies. Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, British High Commissioner in India and Major General Robert Harry Talbot Rice from United Kingdom and Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, General Officer Commanding STRIKE 1 and Major General Rupinder Singh, General Officer Commanding Cockerel Division from Indian Army were present.
Set in the backdrop of growing terrorist activities worldwide, the first and second editions of the exercise were conducted at Balgaum (India) and Westdown camp, Salisbury Plains Training Area, UK in 2013 and 2015 respectively. The exercise is pitched at Company level (approximately 120 participants each from both sides). Aimed at learning from each other’s experience and sharing best practices, the exercise went through a gradually accelerating tempo and culminated into a 48 hours joint exercise in a prevailing insurgency set up. Both the contingents gained immensely from each other’s experiences. Representatives of both the Armies conveyed immense satisfaction over the learning content of the exercise and were hopeful of more such exchanges in future.
The exercise has also contributed to the bigger goal of defence cooperation and deepening of military relations between the two professional armies. Taking time away from the hectic schedule of the exercise, the visiting contingent was also given a brief exposure to the cultural heritage of Rajasthan and a taste of the globally acclaimed Indian cuisine adding colour and flavour to the event.
In his closing remarks, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh of the Indian Army conveyed that in the current flattened world and the ever changing militancy environment, such joint endeavours are the need of the day to find a solution to this global menace and such exercise are a small but concrete step in the right direction.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.