Friday, September 17, 2021

‘ZAPAD 2021’: India Army to take part in theatre level exercise with 17 nations

Indian Army is all set to take part in ‘ZAPAD 2021’, a multi-nation military exercise being held at Nizhniy, Russia from 3rd to 16th September 2021.

Interestingly, 200 personnel strong contingent of the Indian Army, primarily from the Naga Regiment will take part as an all ‘Arms Combined Task Force’ for the exercise, which is one of the theatre level exercises of the Russian armed forces.

The NAGA Battalion group aims to boost military and enhance strategic ties amongst the participating nations while they plan & execute this exercise.

Other nations in the forthcoming Zapad exercise will include troops from Russia, Mongolia, Armenia, Serbia Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. Few other countries will also participate in the exercise as “observers” or with “HQ staff”.

Notably, the Indian army contingent has been put through a strenuous training schedule that comprises all facets of conventional operations including airborne, mechanized, & heliborne, counter-terrorism, and more.

Genisis and contribution of Naga regiment

Raised on 1st November 1970, the First Battalion (1 Naga) of the Regiment started its journey from the Kumaon Regimental Centre, Ranikhet, it was then designated as the ‘NAGA Regiment’

The regiment encompasses battalions of Kumaon, Garhwal, and Gorkha (3 GR) regiments. The regiment comprised 50% Nagas and 50% of an equal number of Kumaoni, Garhwali and Gorkhas as many Kumaon battalions had been associated with Nagaland, particularly in the years preceding the raising of the Naga Regiment. Later on 11th February 1985, the second battalion (2 Naga) was raised at Haldwani, Uttarakhand.

It is noteworthy that the Naga battalion was the first one to be inducted into ‘Operation Vijay’ (Kargil War) in the Drass Sector on 11 May 1999. During this operation, the elite 2-Naga regiment captured the strategic Twin Bump feature in the Drass sector in July 1999, and then they were involved in another crucial mission to neutralize strategically located Pakistani mortar position, which was targeting the Srinagar-Leh National Highway and hampering the movement of the men and machinery.

Further, the battalion captured Black Rock, Pyramid (all part of Point 5140), Thums Up, Pimple Hill (later renamed as Naga Hill) and Point 5060.

Later, the battalion was awarded two ‘Vir Chakra’ and two Sena Medals for their outstanding contribution during this operation. 2 Naga was awarded ‘COAS Unit Citation’ twice and both times for valor in the face of the enemy and their active part in Operation Vijay.

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