Sunday January 29 2006, IANS
LUCKNOW: A fortnight-long joint exercise undertaken by soldiers of the US and Indian Army in the Himalayan cantonment of Ranikhet in Uttaranchal on tips in combating insurgency ended on Saturday.
The second exercise of its kind, it involved Indian Army experts familiarising their US counterparts with techniques of guerrilla warfare, practised intensively in the country’s insurgency prone areas like Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states.
The first joint military exercise of the two countries was held in Agra in 2005.
About 120 soldiers, including a woman of the US Army, were flown to Ranikhet, about 400 km from here, to participate in the mock exercises. Both laser guns as well as live bullets were used in different exercises.
According to Lt. Gen. Devraj Singh, director general of Indian Infantry, the exercise serves a mutual purpose.
"Just as we have tremendous exposure in tackling insurgency and terrorism, this is an opportunity to get our boys some experience with the Infantry Weapons Effect Simulator System (IWES), with which the US military personnel are more familiar", he told reporters in Ranikhet.
"The main objective behind the exercise was to share each other’s experiences and skills. The US Army is undoubtedly far advanced in technology, but we are in a position to share with them our experience with terror, which is new to them."
Emphasising that such joint exercises were the need of the hour, he said: "After all, terrorist and militant groups across the globe are trying to do networking amongst themselves, so it was absolutely pertinent for armies of different nations to get together to devise techniques and skills to counter them."
What impressed the Indian soldiers most was the night-vision devices and travelling kits used by their American counterparts.
"The entire equipment carried by an American soldier during war can be stuffed in waterproof inflatable bags that easily float on water, thereby making it convenient for them to cross rivers and other water bodies," said an Indian officer.
"However, notwithstanding their technological superiority, our boys have greater endurance," he said.