Mumbai: It is usually in Army and Air Force circles where the scenario of a two-front war is often discussed. But now, the Indian Navy is training for such a scenario. After conducting its three-week-long operational exercise in the Arabian Sea, the Navy is now moving to the waters off Andaman and Nicobar Islands for war games.
The Western Naval Command, based in Mumbai, on Thursday concluded its operational exercise in the Arabian Sea named ‘Paschim Leher’. The exercise tested the operational readiness of the Western Naval Command and the execution of it’s operational plans.
According to the Navy, over 40 naval assets, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, frontline ships of the Western Fleet and Eastern Fleet (including the newly inducted Kolkata-class destroyers), submarines, potent missile vessels of the 22nd Killer Squadron, patrol vessels and craft of the local flotilla and Indian Coast Guard, participated in the exercise.
“In addition, the exercise also witnessed intense flying activity by the carrier-borne MiG-29Ks, P-8Is, IL-38SDs and Dorniers as well as remotely piloted aircraft,” said an officer, while adding that the exercise also saw enhanced participation by the aircraft of the Indian Air Force, with coordinated flying missions with the Indian Navy’s air assets.
IAF assets such as maritime role Jaguar fighters, Su-30 MKIs, AWACS and aerial refuellers participated in large numbers from different airfields in Gujarat, Maharashtra and North India.
An amphibious landing was also conducted, which included the participation of the 91 Infantry Brigade of the Indian Army.
The Navy claimed Paschim Lehar-2018 enabled testing and revalidation of operational plans and manoeuvres in a hostile maritime scenario on India’s western seaboard. Defence of Indian offshore assets, such as oil rigs, escort operations of Indian merchant ships and coastal defence were also rehearsed.
“The exercise will enable further refinement of the operational, logistics and administrative plans of the Western Naval Command,” an officer added.
With the completion of naval war games on the western seaboard, the Indian Navy is now moving to the eastern side.
Exercise Milan is scheduled to be held from March 6-11. This year, 23 countries have been invited, of which 16 have confirmed so far. Exercise Milan is a congregation of littoral navies, conducted biennially by Indian Navy under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command. It began in 1995 with the participation of four countries.