India kicked off war games involving thousands of troops Monday along its border with arch-rival Pakistan, which is still smarting from the US operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
A military spokesman told reporters the six-day exercise, codenamed Vijayee Bhava (Be Victorious) was being held in the Thar desert region in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
“This exercise envisages sustained massed mechanised manoeuvres,” S.D. Goswami said, adding the drill involved an array of weaponry that India has acquired as part of its ongoing military modernisation programme.
More than 20,000 combat troops were taking part.
The Indian army, the world’s fourth largest in terms of personnel, has conducted 10 major military exercises along Pakistan’s border in the past six years.
Pakistan is currently under pressure to explain how bin Laden — killed in a US raid on a town near Islamabad a week ago — had managed to live in the country undetected for years.
India has already given its verdict, denouncing its South Asian neighbour as a terrorist “sanctuary” and renewing calls for Islamabad to arrest suspects behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
India says the 10 gunmen who attacked multiple targets in Mumbai, killing 166 people, were members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.
India suspended peace talks with Pakistan after the attacks. The dialogue was recently resumed but India has continued to criticise Pakistan for not doing enough to bring the alleged organisers to justice.
The two nuclear-armed countries have fought three wars since gaining their independence in 1947.