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At the Taj Mahal


Training The Indian Army in The Punjab


by Capt N A Kelly Bravo Company, 16 Mechanised Infantry Battalion (16 Mech Inf Bn) of the Indian Army were picked from over 200 Indian Infantry Battalions to be attached to 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords) in the Land Warfare Centre Battle Group (LWC BG) rôle. In preparation for the attachment, Capt Andrew Ryan and I were sent to India to give preparatory training to provide an adaptable and strong Indian Company capable of operating in either a light or an armoured rôle in a complex mission-oriented exercise scenario. Key individuals of the Battalion came to UK in June 2008 to recce the area in which the Company would live and to see the type of exercises they were likely to share with LWC BG. Col Shekhawat, the Commanding Officer, Maj Raghavan, Bravo Company Commander, and Subedar George, a Junior Commissioned Officer (a JCO being similar to the Royal Gurkha Regiment QGO system) were able to identify gaps in their training to prepare the Company for its time in UK. It was suggested during the recce that a


78 October 2009


British training team go to India to teach Bravo Company British army doctrine and tactics so as to better prepare them for their attachment to the LWC BG.


After significant diplomatic effort, we flew into Delhi airport in mid August and were met by the MA to the British Defence Attaché. We were greeted by the Bravo Company Officers at the Armoured Corps Mess in the Delhi Cantonment area, the home to approximately twelve Regiments. After a quick introduction to the chaos that is the Delhi traffic system, we found out what build-up training Bravo Coy had completed and what elements they would like to cover during the limited time available. The lectures which we had planned included the history of Britain, Regimental history, AI Battle Group tactics, AI Company tactics, OBUA, combined arms operations and many more. This programme would show Bravo Company the difficulties and complexities which they would face on arrival but, before the hard work started, we spent a day visiting the breathtaking Taj Mahal and Fatephur Sikri, a spectacular ancient fort and mosque. Capt Ryan was delighted to discover that his shorts and hair cut were deemed to be inappropriate and it wasn’t until many hours later that I managed to control my laughter at the sight of Capt Ryan in a skirt with an unusual hat on!


On the following day, we gave lectures to an audience of approximately 40 personnel consisting of the key members of Bravo Coy including a large number of the JCOs. The mix of previous experience levels in the audience was quite staggering with a number of the JCOs having been present when 16 Mech Inf Bn became the first unit to operate with BMP at high altitude in the volatile region of Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) almost 20 years previously. Many in the audience had completed tours of J & K and had been deployed on some of the UN tours in which India has been involved. This mix of operational experience is similar to that of the British Army and it was interesting to see the parallels between our two forces emerge time and time again.


Despite English being the language of the Staff Officer in India, with all orders and


In the Indian Divisional Mess The Mercian Eagle


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