India has amassed its western and eastern naval fleets on the western seaboard for intensive combat manoeuvres in the entire Arabian Sea, in what will be one of the largest maritime exercises in recent times.
The warships, including aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Delhi-class destroyers, Kilo-class submarines and Talwar-class frigates, among others, are backed by Sea-Harrier jump-jets, IL-38 and Dornier-228 maritime reconnaissance aircraft and Kamov-28 and Seaking anti-submarine warfare helicopters.
Many "assets" from IAF, Army and Coast Guard, including Jagaur maritime strike jets and Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, amphibious combat units and smaller warships are also being deployed for 'Tropex' or the theatre-level readiness and operational exercise. The largescale exercise's "actual tactical phase" will kick off on February 14. "Over 50 types of warships and scores of aircraft are taking part in it to sharpen combat skills as well as validate doctrines and concepts," said a source.
That's not all. After the Tropex wargames in Arabian Sea, in keeping with its endeavour to build "interoperability" with foreign forces and further India's geo-strategic objectives, Navy will dispatch four frontline warships to the Far East in March-April for a series of exercises.
The overseas deployment will see Indian warships undertake the 'Simbex' combat exercise with Singaporean Navy, 'Malabar' with US Navy south of Japan and 'Indra' with Russian Navy off Vladivostok.
"Constructive engagement is our principle weapon during peacetime. The idea is to enhance security and stability in the entire Indian Ocean Region by engaging with regional and extra-regional maritime powers," a senior officer said.
As for Tropex, the warships will practice operational concepts like "maritime manoeuvre from the sea", designed to ensure Navy is capable of favourably influencing the outcome of the land-air battle in the short, swift and high-tempo conflicts of the future.
Then, the armed forces have also stepped up amphibious warfare drills to take the battle to enemy shores.