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A mock drill to repel terrorist attack on “United Nations office” marked the culmination of the fortnight long joint military exercise between India and Kazakhstan here. Senior military observers from both the countries watched the drill on the final day of the exercise here yesterday which was followed by separate cultural shows presented by the troops of the two countries.
The contingents comprised platoon strength from third Battalion of the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army and a similar strength of the Kazakh Army.
They went through a rigorous training schedule over the past two weeks under the banner “Prabal Dostyk” – Robust Friendship – in Bakloh cantonment, located 4,584 feet above the sea level, in Chamba district of HP.
The first edition of the military exercise was held in Kazakhstan, a major central Asian state and India’s largest trading partner in the minerals-rich region, in 2016.
Sound of practice firing and blasts echoed the hills prior to the commencement of the final drill which saw joint troops on a “UN peacekeeping mission” establishing checking points to frustrate a possible terror attack on the UN office.
As part of the drill, four terrorists travelling in a private car started firing after being intercepted by one of the parties at a checking point.
While two of them were neutralised on the spot, two others managed to flee and sneak into the UN office building after cutting the fence.
Reinforcements were air dropped from a chopper near the building and both the holed up terrorists were subsequently neutralised – the operational drill keenly watched by the military observers from both the countries and other senior and lower rank officers.
Leader of Kazakhstan contingent Lt Col G B Kassymbekov was all praise for India and said the exercise provided them a valuable learning experience in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.
“The exercise demonstrated the determination of the two armies in working closely with each other to eradicate the menace of terrorism in all its forms,” defence spokesperson Colonel N N Joshi told PTI.
He said the joint exercise was a resounding success and would go a long way in enhancing military ties between the two countries.
The Indian contingent commander, who wished not to be identified, said the exercise sought to acquaint the forces with each other’s operating procedures in the backdrop of counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations under the UN’s mandate.
“The overall aim was to enhance the existing military relationship between the two countries and achieve synergy for joint conduct of operations as and when the requirement arises,” he said.
He said the training would go a long way in enhancing ties between the people of the two countries. “This exercise provided us suitable platform to mutually understand tactics and drills of either contingent so as to enable seamless conduct of of joint counter insurgency and counter-terrorist operations,” the contingent leader said.
“I take this opportunity to thank all kazakistani participants and the support staff who have displayed tremendous professional acumen during the conduct of the exercise.
He praised the Kazakistani contingent and said in the last 14 days of training together, they have developed close bounds and the resultant comrade among the members of both the contingents which will last life long.
The participating Indian troops had undergone extensive training in counter-terrorism and low intensity conflict operations at the Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte, Mizoram.
The Indian contingent had also trained with the elite counter-insurgency forces to imbibe the best practices of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations with specific reference to both rural and urban settings.
The drill was followed by cultural programmes presented separately by the contingents of the two countries. A group of Gorkha Rifles personnel presented a scintillating performance of ‘Khukri’ dance and different forms of martial arts drawing huge applause from the audience.