Dharma Guardian

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 17, 2022, 8:39

Dharma Guardian is an Indo-Japan bilateral military exercise. It aims to impart experience and knowledge from various counter-terrorism operations in both nations.

  • The first Dharma Guardian exercise happened in 2018.
  • The exercise aims to provide synchronized training in counter-terrorism operations in the forest and the city.
  • The joint military exercise will boost bilateral ties, especially bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries.
  • Dharma Guardian 2022 took place in Belgaum, Karnataka. It ended on 10th March 2022.

Dharma Guardian Exercise Significance

According to the statement released by the Indian Army, the exercise with Japan is vital, given the current global security concerns that both countries face.

Even though the statement did not explicitly mention China, countering the expansionist dragon in the current world order is integral to the Dharma Guardian exercise.

Other significant reasons for the exercise include:

  • It gives a unique opportunity for coordination among the Armed Forces of both nations.
  • It helps in cementing the eternal bond of India and Japan.
  • The exercise also acts as a venue for social interaction and professional and cultural learning.
  • It allows participants to broaden their horizons in terms of knowledge and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region.
  • Both contingents use this opportunity to share their knowledge of current counter-terrorism operations.
  • In the recent Dharma Guardian exercise, they shared their experiences with disruptive technologies, including drones and anti-drone weapons.

The Key Elements of the Dharma Guardian Exercise

Both sides train, organize and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills during the exercise.

It includes:

  • House intervention drills
  • Raids on terrorist hideouts in semi-urban terrain
  • Combat first aid
  • Unarmed combat
  • Close quarter combat fire
  • Countering potential threats

To combat global terrorism, the Dharma Guardian exercise focuses on tactical skill development. Also, it enhances inter-force interoperability and encourages Army-to-Army collaboration.

Dharma Guardian Exercises

First Dharma Guardian Exercise

  • Held in 2018 at the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte, Mizoram.
  • Participants were then 6/1 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army and the 32nd Infantry Regiment of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force.

Second Dharma Guardian Exercise

  • Held in 2019 at the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte, Mizoram.
  • Participants were the 34th Infantry Regiment of the first division of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and the Dogra Regiment of the Indian Army.

Third Dharma Guardian Exercise

  • Held in 2022 at the Foreign Trading Node, Belgaum, Karnataka.
  • Participants were the 30th Infantry Regiment of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment.

Dharma Guardian will strengthen defence cooperation between the Indian Army and the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. It further serves as a springboard for many more such cooperative programs in the future, building on the advances earned.

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FAQs on Dharma Guardian

Q.1. How long was the Dharma Guardian exercise in 2022?

The Dharma Guardian exercise in 2022 was of 12-day duration. It began on 27th February and concluded on 10th March.

Q.2. How many Dharma Guardian exercises have taken place so far?

So far, three Dharma Guardian exercises have been completed.

Q.3. Who participates in the Dharma Guardian exercise?

Dharma Guardian is a bilateral defence exercise between the Indian Army and the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force.

Q.4. Why is countering China integral to the Dharma Guardian exercise?

Countering China is critical to the exercise as both the countries experience strained relations with China, which claims some parts of both the countries' territories.