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Indian Military’s Kavach is a message to Beijing that Indian Ocean Region isn’t South China Sea

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New Delhi, Jan 21: The Indian Military will execute high-intensity offensive and defensive manoeuvres in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal in an exercise. Codenamed Kavach or shield.

The military drill be coordinated by the Port Blair based Andaman and Nicobar Command. The defence ministry announced on Thursday that the exercise will be carried out next week to fine-tune joint warfighting capabilities and sharpen operational synergy between the three services.

Indian Military’s Kavach is a message to Beijing that Indian Ocean Region isn’t South China Sea

This exercise comes at a time when India is locked in a standoff with China in eastern Ladakh. This exercise holds a lot of significance as China is trying to open multiple routes to the Indian Ocean.

China's apprehension is that major naval powers are controlling the Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Indonesia as a result of which vital supply lines are interdicted. More than 80 per cent of China's oil imports pass through the 350 km strait that connects the Indian Ocean and South China Sea. In a statement, the Defence Ministry said, "the exercise will involve synergised application of maritime surveillance assets, coordinated air and maritime strikes, air defence, submarine and landing operation."

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India's focus continues to remain on China's rising ambitions in the region. The message India wants to send out that Beijing's power play cannot be replicated in the Indian Ocean.

The scope of this exercise will cover Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance (ISR). This would involve the military's technical, electronic and human intelligence elements. "The ISR exercise will validate the capabilities of intelligence gathering from space, air, land and sea-based assets/sensors, its analysis and sharing to achieve battlefield transparency for quick decision making at different stages of operations," the statement also read.

The exercise will involve the air force's Jaguar maritime strike aircraft, transport aircraft, elements of the Indian Army's amphibious brigade, destroyers, anti-submarine warfare corvettes and amphibious warships with ship-borne helicopters of the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command. The statement also said that the joint forces would execute multi-domain high intensity offence and defensive manoeuvres in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal and carry out amphibious landing operations, air-landed operations and helicopters-borne insertion of Special Forces from sea, culminating in tactical follow-on operations on land.

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