Leadership: India Plays With Everyone


October 16, 2005: India's armed forces have a full dance card for the fall, as they plan to have joint exercises with Singapore, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Russia, and the United States. In addition, Chinese military observers have been invited to watch Indian military exercises in November. The efforts are a part of India's new "defense diplomacy" strategy to enhance military-to-military cooperation.

India will conduct low-level military exercises and joint training with the armed forces of Singapore, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan from November onward so it can extend its influence into the Central Asian region. Singapore's military also has an arrangement with India to use India's territory for training purposes.

Indian and U.S. armies conducted a series of exercises together in September, including anti-terrorist operations. In addition, divers from the Indian and U.S. Navy conducted salvage exercises in September that preceded a larger set of naval exercises to support the 11-nationl Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to interdict ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction and the equipment to make and deliver them. Indian sources say that the operation with the U.S. Navy before the larger exercise is an unofficial endorsement of PSI efforts.

Russian and Indian special forces will conduct their first-ever set of joint exercises from October 11 through the 19; Indian special forces had previously worked with U.S. special forces in August.

Chinese observers will be on hand to observe Indian's annual "Desert Strike" armored exercises in November. The invitation is in response to China's invitation for India to witness Chinese maneuvers in 2002. - Doug Mohney


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