India-Seychelles Joint Exercise ‘LAMITIYE-2024’

In a significant step towards improving bilateral military ties with Indian Ocean island nations, an Indian Army contingent departed for Seychelles on March 17, 2024, to carry out a joint military exercise named ‘LAMITIYE-2024′ with the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF). The 10-day exercise, set to begin on March 18, aims to enhance interoperability in sub-conventional operations in semi-urban environments under Chapter VII of the United Nations charter on peacekeeping operations.

Participating Forces

A contingent of 45 personnel from the Gorkha Rifles regiment of the Indian Army will join forces with the SDF for the exercise. This marks the tenth edition of the biennial training event, which has been conducted in Seychelles since 2001.

Objectives of the Exercise

The primary objective of ‘LAMITIYE-2024’ is to build and promote bilateral military relations between India and Seychelles while exchanging skills, experiences, and best practices between both armies. The exercise will contribute immensely to developing mutual understanding and magnifying jointness between the troops of both armies, fostering a collaborative partnership.

Training Activities

During the exercise, both sides will jointly train, plan, and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in a semi-urban environment. The joint exercise will include field training exercises, combat discussions, lectures, and demonstrations, showcasing new-generation equipment and technology.

The exercise will culminate with a two-day ‘Validation Exercise,’ putting the skills and knowledge acquired during the training to the test in a simulated operational scenario.

Significance of Seychelles

Seychelles, a strategically located archipelago of around 115 islands in the Indian Ocean region, holds immense geostrategic importance despite its small landmass of just 452 sq km and a population of about 98,000. Located at the crossroads of Africa, West Asia, and India, Seychelles has been a strategic destination for several major powers with vested interests in the region since the Cold War era.

India’s Focus on Defence Cooperation

India has been focusing on significantly ramping up defence cooperation with Seychelles in recent years. The country has extended support to Seychelles and other neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean as a first responder. India has also helped in developing an airstrip and a jetty on the Assumption Islands in Seychelles.

Countering Chinese Influence

China has been proactively taking initiatives to develop infrastructure in the Indian Ocean region, making it crucial for India to strengthen its ties with countries like Seychelles. The recent spree of hijack attempts and drone attacks in the region has raised concerns over sea-borne trade, which is significant for India, with 95 per cent of its trade by volume and 68 per cent by value transiting upon the seas.

The Chief of Naval Staff, recently emphasized the importance of sea-borne trade for India’s growth, stating that the livelihood of every citizen is linked with the seas. With Seychelles located at a strategic point in the Indian Ocean, securing the region is crucial for India’s economic interests.

 


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