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Exercise Dharma Guardian: 3rd India-Japan joint military drill to kick-start from 27 Feb at Belagavi in K'taka

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New Delhi, Feb 25: The contingent of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) arrived in India today to take part in the 12 days long 'Exercise Dharma Guardian'.

Exercise Dharma Guardian: 3rd India-Japan joint military drill to kick-start from 27 Feb at Belagavi in Ktaka

The 3rd edition of the joint military exercise 'Dharma Guardian' between the Indian Army & JGSDF will be conducted at Belagavi, Karnataka from 27 February to 10 March 2022. The military exercise aims at enhancing inter-operability and fostering mutual understanding between the two Armies.

Further, the joint drill will focus on operations in Jungle & Semi-Urban/Urban terrains.

India, Japan, the US and Australia are part of the Quad group that has been formed to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free from any malignant influence of China.

The scope of Dharma Guardian exercise covers platoon-level joint training on operations in jungle and semi urban and urban terrain, the statement said.

Combat experienced troops of the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army and 30th Infantry Regiment of Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces are participating in the exercise this year, it noted.

The 12-day-long exercise schedule includes house interventions drills, raid on terrorist hideouts in semi urban terrain, combat first aid, unarmed combat and close quarter combat firing where both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats, it mentioned.

The joint field training exercises, joint combat discussions and joint demonstrations will culminate with a two day validation exercise scheduled on March 8 and March 9, it said.

Tracking the journey of 'Dharma Guardian'

The first-ever joint military exercise involving the Indian Army and Japan Ground Self Defence Force was held from 1st November to 14 November 2018 at Counter Insurgency Warfare School, Vairengte, India.

The Indian contingent was represented by 6/1 Gorkha Rifles while the Japanese contingent was represented by the 32 Infantry Regiment of the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force.

The first of its kind 14 days long joint military exercise consisted of a balance of indoor classes and outdoor training activities. The objective of the exercise was to build and promote army to army relations in addition to exchanging skills and experiences between both armies.

Exercise Dharma Guardian: 3rd India-Japan joint military drill to kick-start from 27 Feb at Belagavi in Ktaka

Notably, due emphasis was also laid on enhancing tactical skills to combat global terrorism and on increasing interoperability between forces of both countries which is crucial for the success of any joint operation.

Both sides jointly trained, planned, and executed a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenarios.

The second edition of Dharma Guardian

The second edition of the joint military drill was conducted at Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte from 19 October 2019 to 02 November 2019. The Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF) contingent comprised 25 soldiers each from each side.

The exercise focused on sharing experience gained during various Counter-Terrorism Operations (COO) in respective countries.

The crux of bilateral exercise

With these series of joint bilateral exercises between India & Japan, both nations aim to come together to propel their bilateral relations towards the next level. The primary focus of the exercise is to train and equip the contingents in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in mountainous terrain.

The entire curriculum of the exercise is planned in a progressive manner wherein the participants are initially familiarised with each others' organisation, weapons, and combat skills before graduating to joint tactical exercises.

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