The Indian Navy concluded a two-month-long drill on February 28.
The drill saw the participation of all the operational ships, submarines and aircraft of the navy along with men and equipment of the army, all types of aircraft of the country’s air force and ships and aircraft of the coast guard.
The war games, conducted on both seaboards of India, extended from the northern Arabian Sea off the coast of Gujarat to the Southern Indian Ocean off the Sunda Straits near Indonesia. The operation on the eastern seaboard was codenamed ENCORE (Eastern Naval Command Operational Readiness Exercise) and on the western Exercise Paschim Lehar.
As informed, the war games were the first of their kind to be conducted on both seaboards and may be an indication of the navy’s threat perceptions of a two-front war.
The Chief of Naval Staff had ordered in February 2017 a comprehensive review of the way the navy exercised at sea. This review included both peacetime operations as well as the training and preparations for war. The internal review resulted in the ‘Mission-based Deployment’ concept which has been put into action since Jul 2017. Mission-ready ships are now forward deployed in critical areas of the IOR with the inherent capability to respond to emerging threats and benign situations, the country’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
The navy, taking into the account that future conflicts and contingencies are likely to be tri-service in their responses, initiated the participation of other services with critical capabilities and specialized equipment to ensure a national response to such situations.
The war games will now be followed by extensive debriefings to identify key takeaways and formulate measures to further strengthen contingency plans.