Indo-UK armed forces joint training in Ladakh

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Srinagar, Sep 18: A four-week joint training of British and Indian troops in high altitude warfare started in Ladakh Himalayas since yesterday, a defence ministry spokesman said here today.

The joint training has nothing to do with Kashmir insurgency as it is a part of the training co-operation between the armed forces of Britain and India, he said.

He said a company of UK Marine, comprising about 125 personnel along with one company of Indian Army paratroopers, are taking part in the training during which they are scheduled to be jointly trained in high altitude warfare, Rejecting some media reports about any Al-Qaida link with the training, he said the exchange has been planned to focus on training in super high altitude areas.

He said similar training was held with the troops of United States in Ladakh region last year.

The defence spokesman Lt Colonel A K Mathur said the Britian forces had arrived here some ten days ago.

It took about one week or so for Britian and Indian paratroopers to reach their high altitude areas of deployment in the Ladakh region for participating in the training.

The British Marines had been deployed in extremely difficult altitudes.

He said both the companies have completed the acclimatization process which was followed by a-four week rigorous training program since yesterday.

Lt Colonel Mathur said the primary objective of the joint training is to understand each others' strengths while operating in rugged ridges reaching heights of 20,000 feet plus interspersed with hazardous glaciers.

Understanding the capabilities of weapons and equipment held by the two armies forms an essential part of this training, he said, adding firing with each others' weapons would also be a major highlight of the training.

The training will also expose the British troops to the extremely low temperatures in the Ladakh region.

He said the joint training would be conducted by instructors trained in the High Altitude Warfare School, Sonamarg in specialized aspects such as rock-craft, snow and glacier operations.

The Indian paratroops would share their experiences of operating in some of the world's most difficult areas.

Similarly British troops are likely to respond by highlighting their recent battle experiences.

He said both the companies are expected to immensely benefit from the expertise acquired by the other in the conduct of operations in such a terrain.


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