The joint teams of the Indian and Sri Lankan Army contingents conducted counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency drills. (Express photo/Arul Horizon)
As part of the India-Sri Lanka joint military exercise, which is focused on Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism (CI-CT) operations, the participants are receiving lessons in perception management and information warfare, along with human rights and humanitarian law.
Contingents from the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army and Gemunu Watch infantry regiment of Sri Lanka are currently undergoing a joint exercise named ‘Mitra Shakti’ to practice sub-unit level CI-CT operations in urban and rural set-ups. This exercise is being conducted under the United Nations (UN) mandate as both the armies contribute to the United National Peacekeeping Forces, which are deployed in troubled areas across the world.
The exercise is being held at the Foreign Training Node located in Aundh Military station in the city. The daily routines of the exercise include both outdoor training and classroom components. Some of the latest additions to the topics taught and discussed in the classrooms are perception management and information warfare. The classroom sessions also have modules on human rights and humanitarian law, also called laws of armed conflict. The lectures till now have also been about cyber threats, hostage rescue and casualty management.
“Acts of insurgent groups and terror outfits against the nation-states are now not limited to conventional means. These outfits are now using social media to spread their agenda and gain sympathy in the populace of their target area. The media coverage of their acts also has an impact. The security forces have no option but to formulate strategies to deal with the issue.” said an Army officer.
“At policy level, Indian Army does have well-charted doctrines on perception management and information warfare. The unit-level contingents were introduced to these subjects through expert lectures on these topics. The contingents were also taught about human rights and the laws of armed conflict, the standards of which have to be adhered to while conducting CI-CT operations. Cyber crime or cyber terrorism is a rising threat and lectures on the extent of the problem and counter-strategies were also discussed in these lectures,” added the officer.
As part of the outdoor actions on Friday, the troops carried out specialised joint training, which included silent insertion of teams in the target area, jungle warfare drills, helicopter-borne operations, and training in handling improvised explosive devices (IEDs), among others.
Colonel Virendra Adkar of Kumaon Regiment, who is the contingent commander from the Indian side, said, “During the two-week-long exercise, we will try and learn from their drill and share our best practices with them. They bring with them a lot of experience, which we intend to learn from. This exercise shows our commitment to tackling operational challenges and to global peace as a whole.”
The exercise started on December 1, a couple of days after newly-elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks, and tackling terrorism was one of the key issues discussed by them. The series, ‘Mitra Shakti’, which means ‘power of friendship’, was started in 2012, mainly as a response to China’s efforts to increase its influence in South Asia in general and Indian Ocean region in particular.