New Delhi will send multiple contingents of its army for the wargames that will be held between 28 July and 11 August.
New Delhi: India will be participating in wargames alongside Pakistan and China to be hosted jointly by Russia, China and five other countries beginning next week.
The International Army Games will be held between 28 July and 11 August across seven countries – China, Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Iran.
China’s invitation to India, and India’s acceptance of it, is a definite sign of a thaw in New Delhi’s relationship with Beijing since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping met for an “informal” summit at Wuhan in April.
New Delhi will send multiple contingents of its army for the wargames that involve a simulated amphibious assault. This exercise will be held in China.
The Indian contingents will not be carrying any equipment; they will use weapons and platforms provided by the Russians and Chinese.
Hosted by Russia, the ‘games’ are actually a competition among mostly former Warsaw Pact countries from the period of the ‘Cold War’. India was not a Warsaw Pact signatory, as opposed to NATO. India’s official position then as now is “non-aligned”.
A defence ministry source told The Print that China has granted India “observer” status for three drills – a competition among Infantry Fighting Vehicles (BMPs), sea-borne assault and mine-clearance tactics. The Indian Army will participate in two wargames in Russia, one of which is a “tank biathlon”.
These games come ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation military exercise to be held in Russia.
India’s participation in the International Army Games and the invitation from both Russia and China have a signature effect on foreign policy. China’s defence minister Wei Fenghe recently said Russia and China have “forged a strategic partnership against a unipolar world dominated by the US”.
Indian contingents will be involved in mountain warfare combat patrols and a competition among snipers in Russia. The China games will involve an Indian infantry battalion designated for amphibious assault.
India has participated in the International Army Games earlier when it was hosted exclusively in the Russian Federation. This time China has joined Russia in hosting the games.
The Indian Navy is currently in a series of exercises in the largest wargames of the world called RIMPAC (an acronym for Rim of the Pacific) being hosted by the US based out of Hawaii.