The armies of India and Indonesia concluded a week-long joint military exercise recently. The operational part of the first-ever platoon-level joint training exercise, Exercise 'Garuda Shakti', was conducted at the Indian Army's elite Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS), Vairengte in Mizoram.
To counter the scourge of insurgency in various contemporary scenarios including jungle warfare, 'Chakravyuh', the three-day outdoor validation exercise, was conducted at various counter insurgency (CI) modules and firing ranges. 'Chakravyuh' ended with the busting of a simulated insurgent hideout in Mizoram's Lushai Hills after a gruelling night-long march.
The Indonesian National Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Darat) troops, led by Lt Col Gatot Heru Puana of KOSTRAD (Indonesian Army's Strategic Reserve Command) belonging to the 13th Infantry Brigade comprised of five officers, six non-commissioned officers and 14 Privates. The troops from the 19th Madras Infantry Battalion of 21 Mountain Division under Eastern Command, currently deployed in counter-insurgency operations in the northeast sector, formed the Indian side.
CIJWS has over 13 different types of firing ranges catering to every conceivable indoor and outdoor scenario ranging from urban, semi-urban to rural settings. Bringing in realism in training, Infantry Weapons Effect Simulation System (IWESS) and Small Arms Training Simulators (SATS) also extensively used. The landscape and the inimitable replicated settings in CIJW make it the most preferred destination to train for several armies of the world.
For proper assimilation of the nuances in CIJW operations for the Indonesian troops, all training and attack drills were coordinated by having two mixed platoons, comprising around 30 soldiers each of KOSTRAD soldiers and the Indian Infantry troops, overseen by senior military observers.Praising the professionalism of the Indian Infantry soldiers, the leader of the Indonesian troops, Col Gatot observed that the Indian troops are very well-equipped to fight the insurgents. While finding some of the training tactics very similar, he said that the concept of 'buddy' system was something they would like to emulate.
The formal closing of the exercise took place with both sides exchanging feedback and mementoes and rounding off with a military-style campfire and cultural exchanges.