BELAGAVI (KARNATAKA): Maldives Brigadier General Ali Zuhair on Thursday said India has been its closest ally for decades and that a free trade agreement with China is a different matter.
Brig Gen Zuhair, senior military observer of Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF), was talking to reporters after the concluding ceremony of the eighth edition of ‘Exercise Ekuverin’ at the Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre in Belgavi, Karnataka.
“Terrorism has no boundary and one country cannot fight alone the menace of terrorism. Indian army has vast experience in counter-insurgency operations against militants, terrorists. Therefore joint exercise helps us gain knowledge from the practical experience of Indian army troops and we can use the tactics in joint operations against terrorists in future,” Zuhair added.
Brigadier Alok Khurana, the seniormost military observer of the Indian Army said, “The exercise has honed individual and collective professional skills of all participants by imbibing best practices of both Armies and has served to reinforce the close ties of friendship between the two countries. This time helicopter operations is the new addition to the joint exercise.”
The bilateral annual exercise is a 14-day joint military training between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force, which is being conducted alternatively in India and Maldives since 2009. ‘Ekuverin’ means “friends” in the Maldivian language.
The focus of the exercise was to acquaint both armies with each other’s operating procedures in the backdrop of an counter-insurgency / counter-terrorism operations in an urban / semi-urban environment under the United Nations (UN) charter, with an overall aim to enhance interoperability between the two armies. The Maldivian National Defence Force comprised two officers and 43 Other Ranks, while the Indian Army was represented by three officers, three Junior Commissioned Officers and 39 Other Ranks belonging to a Gorkha Rifles Battalion (Sirmoor Rifles).
THE CULTURAL SHOW BY ARMY TROOPS
In addition to the formal march past, there were a number of cultural programmes like Kalaripayattu by the Madras Regimental Centre, Malkhamb by the Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre, Khukri Combat Display by the Gorkhas and the Assam Regimental Centre showcasing their North East Warrior skills. The audience was also left mesmerised by the aerobic display by the Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre and Boduberu display by the Maldivian National Defence Forces. The grand ceremony culminated with a Pipe & Drum band night display by the Sirmoor Rifles.