Home World India, UK Begin Two-week Joint Military Exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior’

India, UK Begin Two-week Joint Military Exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior’

India and the United Kingdom have launched a two-week joint military exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior’ aimed at enhancing cooperation and interoperability between the two militaries in conducting counter-terrorism operations. The exercise is taking place at Salisbury Plains in the United Kingdom and involves approximately 1,200 soldiers from both armies. Training will include marksmanship, close combat training, and combat tactics, among others. The exercise is seen as evidence of the close defence ties between India and the UK, with both countries looking to strengthen their strategic partnership in the region.

The opening ceremony of the exercise was held on Wednesday, with both Indian and British officers expressing their commitment to strengthening the defence partnership between the two countries. British Army Brigadier General Tom Bewick, who commands the British contribution to the exercise, said “Ajeya Warrior exercise is a testament to the strong and enduring defence relationship between the UK and India”. Indian Army Brigadier General Harkirat Singh, who commands the Indian contingent, said the “exercise is an opportunity to improve our interoperability and share our experience with the British Army”. He added that “the exercise will focus on strengthening our capabilities in counter-terrorism operations in urban and semi-urban environments, which are increasingly common around the world”.

The two countries have a long history of defence cooperation, with the UK being one of India’s key defence partners. The two countries have conducted joint exercises in the past, including the ‘Ajeya Warrior’ exercise in 2017 and the ‘Indra’ exercise with Russia. The UK is also a major supplier of defence equipment to India, with the two countries signing a defence logistics pact in 2019 to facilitate closer cooperation. The joint exercise comes as the UK seeks to deepen its post-Brexit relationship with India. The UK has identified India as a key strategic partner in the region, with both countries looking to expand their trade and investment ties. The UK has also been keen to tap into India’s growing defence market, which is expected to be worth more than $250 billion by 2025.

The joint exercise is important from a geopolitical perspective, with both countries trying to counter China’s growing influence in the region. India and the UK are part of the Quad, along with the US and Japan, which is seen as a counterweight to China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region. The UK is seeking to play a more prominent role in the region, with the recent deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Indo-Pacific seen as a statement of intent. India is also keen to expand its strategic partnership with the UK, with the two countries recently agreeing to a roadmap for their strategic partnership.