India and the US are likely to hold their first tri-services military drill later this year and talks to finalise the modalities of the exercise are on, a senior Defence Ministry official has said. The three wings of the armed forces of India and the US hold separate military exercises, but this will be the first time that the two countries will have a joint drill of their Army, Air Force and the Navy.
The topic is likely to come up for discussion in September during the 2 plus 2 Dialogue involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on one side and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis on the other.
Sitharaman and Mattis, during his visit to India last year, had deliberated on exploring additional specialised military drills between the two countries. This will be second such international military drill involving all the three services.
Last year, an Indian contingent comprising 350 personnel from Army, 80 from Air Force, two IL 76 aircraft and one Frigate and Corvette each from the Navy participated in a bilateral exercise, ‘Indra 2017’, with the Russian forces in Eastern Military District of Russia.
The armies of India and the US also participated in Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2017 at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, while the navies of India and the US had last month participated in Malabar 2018, a trilateral exercise involving Japan