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USA, Myanmar to hold military exercises with India in Meghalaya this year

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NewsDrum Desk
04 Nov 2023
New Update

Umroi (Meghalaya), Nov 4 (PTI) The USA and Myanmar will hold joint military exercises with India at Meghalaya’s Umroi Cantonment later this month and December respectively, a defence official said on Saturday.

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The Malaysian army is currently holding such a bilateral exercise since last month at the Umroi Joint Training Node, the only nominated node of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army.

Thus, the same venue has been selected for the exercises with three countries in consecutive three months.

Since its inception in October 2017, the node has hosted eight joint exercises with foreign countries, including the ongoing ‘Exercise Harimau Shakti 2023’ between the Indian and Malaysian forces, Defence spokesperson Lt Col Mahendra Rawat said.

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“Indian Army has engaged positively in the field of defence cooperation by conducting 36 joint exercises with 22 friendly foreign countries in different locations. The training node in Umroi has hosted personnel from six countries so far,” he said.

The first bilateral exercise here was conducted with the Bangladesh army in 2017. The military personnel of other countries who visited Umroi Cantonment for such exercises are Myanmar, Thailand, China, Kazakhstan and Malaysia.

The scheduled upcoming joint exercises are with the USA this month while Myanmar defence personnel, who will be participating in the training here for the second time, in December.

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Lt Col Rawat said this Node was conceptualised at Umroi, located on the northern foothills of Shillong along the Umiam river, keeping in mind the conducive weather conditions and terrain configuration offering an optimal training environment.

“The facility at Umroi is the nominated node of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army for conducting joint exercises. In the last seven years, it has matured as a Centre of Excellence for International Army Joint Training and focussed on strengthening military level exchanges,” he said.

The training area is spread over 2,500 acres, encompassing state-of-the-art training facilities for the conduct of counter-terrorist operations in semi-urban and jungle environments under the mandate of the United Nations for Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement operations.

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The training areas include an 800-meter Sniper Range with six firing lanes and elevated platforms. A challenging 1.4-kilometres Battle Obstacle Course with 17 obstacles, culminating into the 300-metre Range with 8 firing lanes, which is utilised for training on endurance and firing skills.

The 200-metre Jungle Lane Shooting Area and Indoor Combat Reflex Shooting Range are optimally designed to train on jungle and urban warfare, including the Counter Terrorist Village Training Area for house intervention operations.

The special operations training area enables training of soldiers for heliborne operations, the Defence spokesperson said.

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Sharing details of the ongoing ‘Exercise Harimau Shakti 2023’, which began on October 23 and will end on Sunday, Lt Col Rawat said the Malaysian contingent comprises troops from the 5th Royal Battalion and the Indian contingent is represented by a battalion of the Rajput Regiment.

The previous edition of the exercise was conducted in Malaysia in November 2022.

The exercise engaged approximately 120 personnel from both sides with both contingents establishing a joint command post and an integrated surveillance grid along with a Joint Surveillance Centre.

“The training focused primarily on a high degree of physical fitness, conduct of drills at tactical level and sharing of best practices with each other,” he added. PTI SSG NN

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