India, Maldives troops train for counter insurgency

13-day exercise to test joint operations

India, Maldives troops train for counter insurgency

A group of heavily armed troopers descended from a helicopter hovering a hundred feet in the air.

Another group of soldiers covered a distance of 14 km on foot. Once united, both groups crept towards a hostile camp before launching a shattering raid aimed at rescuing civilian hostages and diplomats.

The assault may have been deadly serious in theory, but in practice it was only a phase of the fourth Indo-Maldives Joint Training Excercise.

As part of “Ekuverin-12,” a 13-day military excercise organised by the Indian Army’s Maratha Light Infantry Regiment at its Regimental Centre (MLIRC) here, 45 Marines from the Maldives Army joined 45 of their counterparts from the Maratha Light Infantry to share their skills and inter-operability in counterinsurgency situations in semi-urban areas.

The exercise, which kicked off on November 12, will continue till November 25.

Training activities

At the camp, the soldiers are undergoing a number of training activities and exercises, including training in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. The men are also being trained for stealth and infiltration at the firing range in Savgaon.

Officers and soldiers of the visiting contingent appreciated the high standard of the various proving grounds in Belgaum, including the jungle camp, the commando training area and the Baghdad Asmara firing range at Savgaon.

Brigadier Santosh Kurup, the commandant of the MLIRC, explained that the Maldives Marines have been familiarising themselves with Indian weaponry as part of the training.
“During the joint training exercises, visiting armies use the weapons of the host army.

During visits to foreign locations, our forces learn to use their weapons. In order to ‘test’ the soldiers who have been groomed in the camp, they have been shifted to a new location to face a counterinsurgency ‘situation’ to rescue political and civilian hostages,” he said.

Senior officers from both armies interacted with the particpating troops and expressed their satisfaction over the level of training and camaradie. Joint exercises will go a long way in enhancing defence co-operation, understanding and synergy between the two nations, said one officer.

Major General R J Noronha from Southern Command, Pune, Indian Army, and Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam, the Commandant of the Marine Corps of Maldives, visited the Regimental Centre and reviewed the ongoing exercise being held at the Rohideshwar jungle camp.

Col Nasrullah Majdaa, the Principal Director of the Maldives Marine Corps reviewed the training programme.

Souvenirs were exchanged between the particpants.

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