India has intensified its defence cooperation with Nepal as the eleventh of the joint military exercise ‘Surya Kiran’ commenced at Pithoragarh of Indian state of Uttarakhand on Tuesday, within less than four months after holding of the tenth in the series. It is said to be the largest military drill undertaken by India with other countries in terms of troop participation.
The Indo-Nepal joint exercise, conducted annually alternatively between the two nations, is scheduled from 7 to 20 March. Previous exercise was held at Army Battle School, Saljhandi, Nepal from 31 October to 13 November last year.
The online edition of the Nepali English daily Himalayan Times reported that as many as 664 personnel - 314 from Nepal and 350 from India - were taking part in the exercise this time.
The infantry battalion-level drill will focus on skills required for counter-insurgency, jungle warfare and natural disaster management.
A statement from the Nepali Army said that this sort of military exercise would strengthen the friendly relation between Nepal and India since ancient times and build up understanding between the ranks and file of two armies.
According to Indian Army, the Surya Kiran aims at promoting military relations while increasing interoperability in conducting joint counter insurgency operations in mountainous terrain.
Present iteration of the joint military exercise is being conducted under the aegis of Panchshul Brigade in Surya Command, the Indian Army said.
India views the joint army exercise as an ideal platform for the contingent of two nations to share their experience and a step towards taking traditional friendship between the two nations to greater heights.