India is currently training with Indonesia as part of the Garuda Shakti IV joint training exercise at Magelang, Indonesia. India has sent platoon strength Infantry Battalion from the Southern Command, who will be training with the troops of the 503 Airborne Battalion of the Indonesian Army.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Defence, the Indian Army contingent is practising weapon handling and the Indonesian counterparts conducted a firing skills demonstration.
The Indian contingent also conducted reflex firing skills demonstration, which included ambidextrous weapon handling in combat situations, the release noted.
The main focus of the Garuda Shakti IV exercise is to promote positive relations between both the armies and improve their ability to undertake counter insurgency operations under the United Nations Charter.
Apart from this, both the sides are expected to learn from each other's doctrines, tactics and experiences in such operations.
Following the arrivals of the Indian Army contingent on March 9, a military function was organised that saw a ceremonial parade with the national flags of both the countries.
The Garuda Shakti IV joint training exercise will conclude March 23 and is expected to make way for better co-operation and stronger relations.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had recently rejected the idea of joint patrol of the Asia Pacific region as suggested by U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris, during his recent India visit to counter Chinese military build-up in the region.
China has been building islands in the disputed South China sea, which is claimed by many nations in the region. Aerial images have shown China completing an airstrip in Spratly Islands where it has reclaimed the land. Reports in February suggested that China had deployed missiles (surface-to-air missiles) in Paracel Island, though China has denied it is militarising the island.
The U.S. has been one of the biggest vocal critics of Chinese expansion in the South China sea. It said it opposes restrictions on freedom of navigation and unlawful sovereignty claims by any country.
However, China has in the past docked its submarines in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. There have been several reports on how the Chinese ships have been seen lurking in the Andaman sea and India is wary of the Chinese and their expansion claims. India believes that the Indian Ocean region is its own backyard and does not entertain Chinese
India is not staying mute on the increasing Chinese footprint in the region and counters China with its own "Act East Policy" that is aimed at improving and connecting countries of South East Asia with India.