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India, Seychelles to kick-start 10-day military exercise from today

NEW DELHI (PTI):  India and Seychelles will kick-start a 10-day military exercise today as part of efforts to further boost overall security cooperation in the Indian Ocean amid China's growing assertiveness in the region.

Exercise LAMITIYE will take place at the Seychelles Defence Academy (SDA) from March 22 to 31, and it will feature a range of complex military drills, demonstrations and discussions, officials said.

"The objective of the joint training exercise is to build and promote bilateral military relations in addition to exchanging skills, experiences and good practices between both the armies," the defence ministry said.

It said both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in a semi-urban environment.

The exercise will also witness showcasing of new-generation equipment and technology for conducting joint operations.

"Due emphasis will be laid on enhancing tactical skills in combating hostile forces in the semi-urban environment and on increasing interoperability between forces," the ministry said in a statement.

"An infantry platoon strength each from both the Indian Army and the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) along with company headquarters will be participating in this exercise," it said.

The Indian Army contingent comprising troops from the Gorkha Rifles arrived in Seychelles on Monday.

"The joint military exercise will enhance the level of defence co-operation between Indian Army and Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) and will further manifest in enhancing the bilateral relations between the two countries," the ministry said.

The officials said exercise LAMITIYE is crucial and significant in terms of security challenges faced by both nations in the backdrop of the current global situation and growing security concerns in the Indian Ocean region.

"We look forward to sharing practical aspects to comprehend and put in practice the validated drills, procedures as well as amalgamation of new technology in sub-conventional operations through numerous situation-based discussions and tactical exercises," said Major Abhishek Nepal Singh, company commander of the Indian Army contingent.

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