New Delhi: India will hold a major naval exercise in the Arabian Sea in the coming weeks. The naval show, called the Defence of Gujarat Exercise (DGX), will take place near Pakistan’s coast line.
Three dozen warships and submarines as well as Indian Air Force aircraft are likely to take part. The Arabian Sea is Pakistan’s main sea trading route. Intelligence and defence officials said a show of naval strength in this area can be a crucial part of India’s message to Pakistan.
Naval exercises practice manoeuvres to defend a maritime assault on Indian mainland and assume a number of hostile contingencies. Defence of Indian assets such as oil rigs as well as coastal security will be part of the manoeuvres.
Fighter, reconnaissance and patrol aircraft are part of such exercises. Indian Air Force’s maritime role Jaguars and Su-30 MKIs, and navy’s reconnaissance and patrol aircraft, plus unmanned aerial vehicles, will be deployed.
India is reviewing intelligence reports that Pakistan has put three of its army corps along the Indian border on alert, and is deploying reconnaissance patrols and early warning elements.
Pakistan has to deploy a bulk of its forces on its western border with Afghanistan where it is fighting extremists of various shades, some of whom were previously backed by Pakistan’s security establishment.
But despite this, given India’s post-Uri stance, Pakistan’s 31Corps and 30 Corps are on high alert. “They (Pakistan) fear a surprise,” a senior member of India’s intelligence community said.