To be conducted on the basis of the new War Principle, the divisional level ‘Operation Readiness’ will use the Tank Brigade testing the potential of indigenous Arjun tanks in comparison to T-90 tanks.
Field trials of Arjun tanks have been pending for a long time and that is why the Indian Army has not yet accepted it as a major war weapon.
Defence sources said Indian Army Chief General JJ Singh feels the coming war exercises are very important and “we must always test the war principles and our capacities and capabilities in order to face future challenges.”
The Indian Army had announced the new ‘War Principle’ last year and re-shaping of the ‘South Western Command’ at the Rajasthan border was then initiated. During two previous exercises, ‘Operation Parakram’ and ‘Operation Vijay’, some lacunae were detected in timely supply of arms and ammunition to the forward posts. After JJ Singh took over, the Army has begun to remove these shortfalls.
While these ground exercises continue, India is planning to join major Air War games with the US, both in India and in US later this year. These air games will be part of the Indian search effort to look for new fighter aircraft including F-16 an F-18s now being offered to New Delhi by Washington.
According to a Reuters report Indian air force (IAF) pilots will face off against US airmen in F-16 fighters in mock dogfights in November. "The joint air exercise planned with the United States in November would provide an opportunity for us to assess the capabilities of the F-16 and its suitability to our requirements," said an Indian defence spokesman in Calcutta.
Four to six F-16 jets will take part in the joint exercises spread over two weeks at the key Kalaikunda airbase, about 120 km south of Calcutta. While the US Air Force will join the exercises -- code named "Cope India" -- with F-16s, India will field its Russian-made Sukhoi Su30MKIs.
Before the US fighters come to India to take part in joint war games, India is being invited to participate in the famous Red Flag exercises, held periodically at the Nellis Air Force Base since 1975. These are known as very realistic aerial war games. Pilots from the US, NATO and other allied countries are trained for real combat situations using "enemy" hardware and live ammunition for bombing exercises within the Nellis complex.
The list of foreign countries that have participated in Red Flag exercises in the past includes: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, NATO, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and Venezuela. Red Flag exercises last two weeks and are held almost the whole year round.
Indian Air Force teams will also join air exercises in France in June this year where Mirage planes will be on sale for New Delhi as the new Congress Government goes through its shopping process.
India is planning to buy 126 fighter aircraft. US is trying to sell aircrafts of F series but India is also looking at Mirage-2000 from France. Air Force experts are due to visit the US, Sweden, France and Russia to assess the potential of fighter aircrafts of these countries and to negotiate prices.