Ahead of the QUAD Leaders summit later this summer and the emerging threats in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Indian Navy has once again tested its combat readiness and its assets in simulated threat scenarios during Exercise TROPEX.
Since India is facing threats from both China and Pakistan, Ex-TROPEX assumes significance amidst the emerging threats in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and its increasing role in Indo Pacific. These are two important issues on the agenda of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian counterpart Prime Minister Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday in New Delhi and later this month with Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida.
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Overseen by the Naval Headquarters all the three services as well as the Indian Coast Guard were involved in the exercise which was set in the IOR and including Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The theatre of operations for the exercise covered almost 4,300 nm (nautical miles) from North to South upto 35 deg South Latitude and 5,000 nm from the Persian Gulf in the West to North Australia coast in the East. According to the Indian Navy it spanned an area of over 21 million square nautical miles.
In this drill six submarines, over 75 aircraft and around 70 Indian Navy ships had been deployed in Ex PROPEX which commenced last November and its culmination has brought an end to an operational phase.
“Every element of the Indian Navy is tested out first on paper, then every perceived scenario is simulated and during the drill from space, land, air and water all is tested including emergencies like breakdown of communication. In case there is breakdown of communications network during critical times and how to communicate in that scenario is all tested. China has been growing its presence not only in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) but beyond and in this edition of Ex-Tropex the focus was to ensure that all the arms of the Indian forces are ready to deal with the geo-strategic threats,” explained a senior officer.
Adding, “As far as the Indian Navy is concerned this large scale Theatre Level Exercise helps to validate its concept of operation in different conflict scenarios, strengthening its role in maritime security in the IOR and beyond as well as hone its war fighting skills.”
This theatre-level biennial exercise is generally carried out in three different phases and it usually starts off in January and goes on till March and in the IOR. The Indian navy, Air Force and the Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard deploys its assets in this exercise and the aim is to further strengthen interoperability and joint operations under a Theatre Command Structure.
Ex TROPEX was first started in 2005 and until 2015 was an annual drill. Thereafter its mandate was changed to a biennial basis – the previous edition took place in 2021. Dubbed as the largest war-game, Ex Sea Vigil and AMPHEX are part of this.
All the Indian Navy assets are tested including Communications Systems, aircraft, helicopter, frigates, Corvettes, Destroyers and submarines too and the idea is to not only validate the navy’s concept of operations but also to refine it. This also focuses on further enhancing the operational logistics and interoperability with the other services too.
There are three different phases: An independent workup phase, then the joint workup phase and culminating in the tactical phase. There were live weapon firing drills conducted in harbor and at sea and are encompassed in the training regimen of Exercise TROPEX.
And the culmination of TROPEX 23 brings to an end an intense operational phase for the Indian Navy that commenced in Nov 2022. According to the Indian Navy on March 6 as part of the final Joint Phase, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh