Days after the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted the massive exercise Gagan Shakti, the Indian Army deployed over 20,000 troops of strike formations as part of the Vijay Prahar exercise near Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

Conducted by the Army’s South Western Command, the exercise is aimed at fine-tuning jointmanship with the IAF.

According to the Indian Army, the troops are using cutting edge equipment and state of the art force multipliers in the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges around 300 km from the closest Pakistani border post.

The exercise has been on for the past couple of weeks and will concluded on 9 May.

“The exercise is aimed to orchestrate wide spectrum of threats which are planned to be tackled through high tempo joint air and land operation involving hundreds of aircraft, thousands of tanks and artillery pieces supported by real time intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and just in time logistic support,” an Army spokesperson said.

It will practice the troops in “penetrative manoeuvres across the obstacle ridden terrain under a nuclear umbrella.

“The formations are practicing and operationalising certain innovative concepts of operating in the network centric environment, integrated employment of modern day sensors with the weapon platforms, employment of attack helicopters in the air cavalry role and bold offensive of application of the Special Forces.”

The news of the military exercise comes days after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed that India will participate in a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia in September, which will also be joined by China, Pakistan and other SCO-member countries.

Speaking at the SCO meeting in Beijing, Sitharman said, “India will participate strongly in SCO’s Peace Mission joint military exercises being held in Russia later this year. We believe that cooperation in SCO framework will help further strengthen India’s bilateral defence ties in the region”.

It will be for the first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will both be part of a military exercise, though the armies of the two nations have worked together in UN peace keeping missions.

Read More: India, Pakistan to conduct military drills as part of multi-nation exercise

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005. Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc last year.

Meanwhile, bilateral military exercise of India and China is likely to resume this year, in sync with renewed efforts by both the countries to reset ties hit by a tense standoff between their troops, according to government sources.

(With inputs from agencies.)