India to kick off major drills in Andaman Sea to sharpen military synergy

By Hindustan times

The Indian military will carry out complex drills off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands next week to fine-tune joint war-fighting capabilities and sharpen operational synergy between the three services, with the high-tempo exercise involving fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters, warships, infantry combat vehicles and elements of special forces, the defence ministry announced on Thursday.

Indian forces will execute high-intensity offensive and defensive manoeuvres in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal as part of the wargames, the ministry said. The Andamans are located more than 1,200km away from mainland India.

The exercise, codenamed Kavach (shield), is being conducted at a time when India and China are locked in a border standoff in the eastern Ladakh theatre and the Indian Navy has stepped up surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to keep tabs on China’s moves to expand its footprint in the strategic waters.

The military drills will be coordinated by the Port Blair-based Andaman and Nicobar Command—India’s only tri-services command.

“The exercise will involve synergised application of maritime surveillance assets, coordinated air and maritime strikes, air defence, submarine and landing operations,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

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