No. 41, December 2005

No. 41
(December 2005):

India's Place in the US Strategic Order

Appendix I
Indo-US Joint Military Exercises after 2002 a Partial List

Joint exercises between the US and Indian militaries have become routine, and are expanding greatly in scope. In 2002 alone six major joint exercises were held (see Behind the Invasion of IraqAspects no.s 33 &34, pp 120-121). The joint exercises since then include the following:

2003 -- Air force: combined air force exercise in Alaska. Navy: complex 'Malabar 04' naval exercises off the east coast in November 2003; naval search-and-rescue exercises through 2003-04. Army: combined special forces counterinsurgency exercise at the Jungle Warfare School at Vairangte, Mizoram. In September 2003, US Special Forces conducted a combined exercise with Indian commandos based in Jammu and Kashmir, in "high altitude, dry and rocky terrain similar to that in which Osama bin Laden is reported to be hiding... [these exercises] helped train US forces in terrain that would otherwise not be available to them in the United States".1

2004 -- Air force: 'Operation Cope India 04' in February 2004 at Gwalior (the first ever Indo-US fighter aircraft exercises, held over 10 days) and "Cooperative Cope Thunder" in Alaska in June 2004. Navy: anti-submarine warfare exercise in April 2004, and Malabar 04 exercises off Goa in October 2004. Army: peace-keeping operations workshop, continuing special forces 'Iroquois' series of exercises, and 'Operation Yudh Abhyas 04' (in Mizoram again). The US Marines also conducted a High Altitude Artillery exercise in November 2003.

2005 -- Air force: Indo-US aerial wargames at Kalaikunda (Cope India 05) in November 2005. Navy: biggest-ever Indo-US joint naval exercise, including aircraft carriers, guided missile destroyers, frigates, helicopters, spy planes and fighter aircraft. Army: 2005 US Roving Sands missile defence exercise in the US, to which Indian forces were invited.

What are the purposes of these exercises? Apart from some specific requirements of the US military (learning about specific terrains, or specific weapons, such as the Russian-built Su-30 aircraft also operated by the Chinese air force), the main purpose is to develop 'inter-operability', the ability of the two forces to communicate, coordinate and fight together. 



1.Natural Allies? Regional Security in Asia and Prospects for Indo-American Strategic Cooperation, Stephen J. Blank, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, September 2005 (hereafter cited as "Natural Allies"),p. 86. (back)

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