India and Japan will conduct the annual joint military exercise "Dharma Guardian 2022" in Belgaum, Karnataka, from February 27 to March 10, the Defence Ministry said on Friday. "In the series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries, this exercise with Japan is crucial and significant in terms of security challenges faced by both nations in the backdrop of current global situation," the ministry's statement said. The Japanese forces arrived at Belgaum on Friday to take part in this exercise, it noted.
India, Japan, the US and Australia are part of the Quad group that has been formed to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free from any malignant influence of China. The scope of Dharma Guardian exercise covers platoon-level joint training on operations in jungle and semi urban and urban terrain, the statement said. Combat experienced troops of the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army and 30th Infantry Regiment of Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces are participating in the exercise this year, it noted. The 12-day-long exercise schedule includes house interventions drills, raid on terrorist hideouts in semi urban terrain, combat first aid, unarmed combat and close quarter combat firing where both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats, it mentioned.
The joint field training exercises, joint combat discussions and joint demonstrations will culminate with a two day validation exercise scheduled on March 8 and March 9, it said. "Special emphasis is being laid on enhancing tactical skills to fight global terrorism and on enhancing inter-operability between the forces and to promote Army to Army relations," the statement read. The annual exercise has been taking place since 2018, it added.