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India steps up training of foreign military personnel to boost ties

NEW DELHI: From basic infantry skills and seamanship to operating advanced weapon systems and platforms like diesel-electric submarines and supersonic fighter jets, India is further cranking up training of foreign military personnel to strengthen defence partnerships with different countries.
The focus is on training cadets and personnel from “friendly foreign countries” in the Gulf, the ASEAN and Africa, apart of course from the neighbourhood, in the various Indian military establishments and academies.
As part of the ongoing military outreach to Gulf countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, for instance, as many as 76 Saudi cadets have now begun sea training at the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi.
The trainees from the King Fahad Naval Academy of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) have joined the Indian Navy’s First Training Squadron for the four-week programme, which comes after Saudi Navy chief Admiral Fahad Abdullah S Al-Ghofaily’s visit here in Jan this year.
“The curriculum ranges from basic seamanship activities to simulator-based training during the harbour phase. The sea phase will focus on practical exposure to nuances of life at sea,” an officer said. This is the second such RSNF batch after the first included 55 cadets in May-June last year. Similarly, military personnel from 26 countries in Africa, where China has made huge strategic inroads, regularly attend courses in Indian Army’s establishments and pre-commissioning training academies.
“The Army trains around 3,100 foreign personnel from over 100 countries every year, which includes about 450 from African countries,” another officer said. The Army even offers special training packages in its establishments like the counterinsurgency and jungle warfare school at Vairengte in Mizoram.
The Navy, in turn, provides training to at least 300 foreign trainees at its various training establishments or on-board warships at any given time. India has also been steadily deepening military ties with Asean countries.

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