With a focus on peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region, the Indian navy is conducting its largest biennial war games–the Biennial Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX-21). The exercise commenced in early January and all the operational units of the Indian Navy– ships, submarine, aircraft as well as the units of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Coast Guard are taking part in it.
Being conducted over a vast geographical expanse of the Indian Ocean region, the exercises are aimed at testing the combat readiness of the Indian Navy. This especially when geopolitical changes are increasing in the region. During the “weapon work up phase” of the Tropex exercises, multiple “on target” missiles, torpedoes, and rockets were tested.
Tropex has two other phases — one was coastal defense exercise “sea vigil” from January 12-13, which saw the participation of not only Navy but also coast guard, marine police of 13 coastal states and union territories, followed by tri-service joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX 21 which was conducted in the Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands.
Meanwhile, as Tropex was on, Pakistan conducted its own naval exercises –Aman 2021 that is seen as a coup by Islamabad since it saw the attendance of 45 countries–NATO, Russia. While the exercises are also seen as a “project to build a positive image”, not much is achieved on-ground as compared to Malabar exercises last year between India, Japan, Australia, and the US.
Also, modern geopolitics has increasingly been less about who got a bigger gun. In terms of humanitarian support and deliverables, last year saw Mission Sagar by the Indian Navy providing food and medical assistance to countries in the region amid the pandemic.