New Delhi: The Indian Army’s sniping and mountain warfare teams are all set to participate in next month’s International Army Games to be held in Belarus and Russia.
The first team, which will participate in the Sniper Frontier Competition in Belarus, comprises nine members.
The second team, comprising 18 members, will compete in a mountain warfare event in Russia. Called the Elbrus Ring Competition, the event will be 13-day long, involving traversing over 95 km in hilly terrain with mountain passes over 3,500 m and navigating through glaciers and streams.
Army sources said both the teams have undergone intense training ahead of their participation.
“The Army would not be carrying their own Dragunov sniper rifles for the (Sniper Frontier) competition. They would be provided sniper rifles there. It would provide parity to all the participating countries,” said an Army officer who didn’t wish to be named.
The team for the second event has trained with the Indian Mountaineering Federation and High Altitude Warfare School, said the officer.
While the Sniper Frontier Competition will see 23 participating nations, including China and Russia, the Elbrus Ring Competition will have 11 competing countries. Last year, the Sniper Frontier Competition was held in Kazakhstan.
The International Army Games 2019 will be held across 10 countries including Russia, India and China, in August. It is organised by Russia’s Ministry of Defense and has been held annually since 2015, with participation from around 32 countries.
As part of the Games, India is hosting the fifth edition of the Army Scout Masters competition, set to begin on 5 August. Eight teams, including India, will participate. Foreign military teams have already arrived in Jaisalmer for the event.
Speaking to ThePrint, another senior Army officer said such competitions are of immense training value and their progress is closely watched by the headquarters.
“Not only do such competitions involve a rigorous selection and training process, which helps in honing their skills and tests the physical and mental robustness of the participating team members, the teams also get to learn best practices and techniques from other foreign armies,” said the second officer.
“For instance, sniping in buddy teams was a late inclusion in the Army after it was seen that it was practised in many armies,” the officer added.