Ajeya Warrior 2023: Joint Military Exercise Between India and UK

The seventh edition of ‘Ajeya Warrior 2023’, a joint military exercise between India and the United Kingdom, commenced on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at Salisbury Plains in the UK. The biennial training event is scheduled to be held until May 11, 2023.

The Ajeya Warrior exercises are conducted in alternate years in India and the UK. The last edition was held at Chaubatia, Uttarakhand, India, in October 2021. The current exercise features the participation of the soldiers of the 2 Royal Gorkha Rifles from the UK and Indian Army troops from the Bihar Regiment. The Indian Army contingent arrived at Brize Norton on April 26, 2023, in an Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft, equipped with indigenous weapons and equipment.

The primary objective of the military exercise is to build positive military relations, imbibe each other’s best practices, and promote the ability to operate together while undertaking company-level sub-conventional operations in urban and semi-urban environments under the UN mandate. According to the Ministry of Defence, the scope of the exercise involves a Command Post Exercise (CPX) at the battalion level and a company-level field training exercise (FTX).

During the Ajeya Warrior 2023, the participants from the Indian and British armies will engage in a variety of missions to test their operational acumen in various simulated situations and refine tactical drills. The exercise will help develop interoperability between the two armies.

The joint military exercise held in cooperation between the Indian Army and the British Army will further enhance bilateral relations between the two nations.

Growing Defence Ties Between India and UK

India and the UK have strengthened their defence relations through industrial collaboration, joint exercises, and co-creation of next-generation capabilities. The two countries have formed a new Defence Industry Joint Working Group to facilitate more effective cooperation. This initiative, which is supported by the UK government, is part of an ongoing effort to reinforce the defence and security partnership between the two nations.

The inaugural meeting of the UK-India Defence Industry Joint Working Group took place on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, and included the participation of 20 UK defence companies.

The UK is already integrating Indian defence suppliers into their global supply chain, manufacturing defence equipment not just for India but for the world. The Joint Working Group aims to establish a strong partnership between the two countries respective navies for the development of Electric Propulsion capability for India. The UK has also offered advanced core technologies to India to enable the creation of an indigenous, ITAR-free jet engine owned, manufactured, and exported by India.

The UK-India 2030 Roadmap commits to partnership on India’s indigenous combat air programs, including LCA Mk-II and AMCA. Moreover, Rolls Royce has established packaging, installation, marketing, and services support for Rolls-Royce MT30 marine engines in India through a partnership with HAL. Thales UK and BDL have signed an agreement to produce the next generation of VSHORAD missiles in India, supplying to both the UK and Indian Armies with a ‘Made in India’ Laser Beam Riding MANPAD System. Additionally, MBDA UK has established live build capability for the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) in partnership with BDL.

The UK’s first Open General Export License (OGEL) in the Indo-Pacific region was recently issued to India, shortening delivery times for defence procurement. The Royal Air Force (RAF) has also conducted joint exercises with the Indian Air Force (IAF), and recently conducted a subject matter expertise exchange with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) during the visit of Eurofighter Typhoon, Voyager, and A400 in New Delhi. With the UK’s support for the co-creation of next-generation capabilities that will be fully owned by India, a stronger UK-India defence relationship is an essential element of the British and Indian governments’ Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

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