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|November 17, 1998||
There were 10,000 men to attack the island...
Tuesday, India conducted its biggest military exercise of the decade.
Code-named Triamph 98, short for Tri-Amphibious '98, the exercise saw around 10,000 officers and men of the army, navy and air force, along with coast guards. It involved an amphibious assault on an island, followed by a day-at-sea aboard aircraft carrier I N S Viraat.
The exercise proved the strike and defence capabilities of Indian forces. Twenty-six naval ships, two submarines, four coast guard vessels, 26 naval aircraft and helicopters, 15 air force aircraft and choppers, and a full fledged battalion manned with T-72 tanks took part in the exercise. Present on the occasion were Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, the chief of naval staff, Vice-Admiral Madhevandra Singh, flag officer commanding-in-chief of western naval command, Major General J J Singh, Major General I J S Bora and Group Captain V K Chopra.
"This is a result of months of accurate micro and macro planning of the three services," Admiral Bhagwat said.
Triamph '98 was controlled and co-ordinated by the commander, amphibious task force. The assault by marine and army commandos was well supported by Jaguara and MIG-21s, which gave excellent cover to the forces inside enemy territory.
On the I N S Viraat, which was the command centre, somewhere in the Arabian Sea, reporters witnessed air strikes by Sea Harriers. Search and rescue operations from Cheetah helicopters were also displayed.
The I N S Ganga also fired a couple of anti-submarine rockets.
"The amphibious operation needs a high degree of expertise, co-ordinated planning, excellent logistics support and is highly complex. Strategically, it is important for India to conduct such exercises. Though every year such exercises are conducted to fine-tune the systems, this is one of the biggest of this decade," Admiral Bhagwat said.
Geo-politically, India occupies a strategic position in the Indian Ocean, with its territorial waters extending 55,889 square kilometres, an exclusive economic zone of 2,013,410 square kilometres and 1,197 islands.
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