An IDC Report


New Delhi, 27 March 2005

Many nations are wooing India and have a genuine desire to exercise with the Indian Armed Forces. The UK stole a march with a clever move to hold a table top strategic planning exercise named ‘Emerald Mercury’, where senior foreign military leaders met senior Indian staff officers and in this case officers from the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS). The exercise concluded on 22 March and the report makes very interesting reading.

The British hope that this will lead to military purchases and more cooperation in all fields. They seem to have scored over the USA on this one. It was however explained in a recent seminar on ‘India's Military Cooperation’, arranged by Air Cmde Jasjit Singh of the Centre for Air Power Studies and chaired by Mr NN Vohra, that the Left partners of the UPA coalition government were averse to over friendly military cooperation with USA and the Congress had to take these sentiments into account.

Defence bureaucrats love these exercises as the budget for it comes mainly from the foreign country and now with IDS in place they get involved too. This type of path breaking exercise paves the way for further bilateral defence cooperation in both joint and peace support operations. These are termed as Littoral Warfare, as no nation can go it alone any more and needs ‘inter-operability’, the mantra of the day.

Exercise Report

The largest UK–India joint military exercise –– Exercise Emerald Mercury –– came to a successful close in Hyderabad, with the departure of the last elements of the UK Joint Force Headquarters' personnel and infrastructure. The exercise broke new ground as the biggest land deployment of UK military personnel to India in many years. Over 100 personnel including 50 headquarters staff officers from the UK were deployed to work alongside a similar number of Indian officers in the conduct of a bilateral India–UK Headquarters Planning Exercise.

Speaking on the occasion, British High Commissioner to India Sir Michael Arthur, said: "This is an outstanding example of the way in which our two countries can co-operate in promoting common defence and security goals. Our two Prime Ministers last September decided that we need to deepen our co-operation in defence and foreign policy work and we had been planning this joint exercise for over eighteen months now. I am delighted it has now come together with such success. This has been an important new step for Britain and India and a good sign of deepening links between our two countries."

Air Marshal Sir Glen Torpy CBE, DSO, BSc (Eng), FRAeS, RAF, the UK Chief of Joint Operations said: "The Emerald Mercury series has been very valuable for the UK. The major benefit for us has been working alongside our Indian colleagues. We view these exercises not only as an opportunity to improve our processes but also to build relationships. That is what working in a coalition is all about. This has been immensely useful for us and I hope that we can build on this relationship we have established here as a basis for future exercises to come.  I am also very impressed by the Indian Staff Officers I have seen participating in this exercise."

Exercise Emerald Mercury achieved the following objectives:

  • Formed a 1-Star Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters staffed jointly by Indian and UK staff officers.

  • Practised combined campaign planning and procedures within a Peace Support Operations scenario.

  • Practised the integration of Indian and UK –– Other Government Departments (OGDs) and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

  • Contributed to the development of Indian and UK ability to conduct multinational operations.

  • Developed bilateral defence relations between India and UK.

The exercise underlined UK–India commitments to the Joint Declaration signed by the UK and Indian Prime Ministers in September 2004, including the commitment to reinforce the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The exercise introduced UK Joint Operations planning procedures in a headquarters jointly staffed by Indian officers of the Integrated Defence Staff and British Officers from the UK Joint Force Headquarters. It was conducted in field conditions in Hyderabad with camp facilities provided by the 54 Div (Bison Division) of the Indian Army. The UK Joint Force Headquarters deployed its planning infrastructure.

Indian Staff Officers conducted an initial UK-taught Joint Warfare Planning Course at the Centre for Defence Management from 7–10 Mar, and this was followed by integration training with India and UK staff officers in a deployed headquarters environment from 11–12 Mar. The main campaign planning phase was conducted from 12–20 March 2005.

Disclaimer   Copyright