NEW DELHI: Military teams from China and several other countries have arrived in the country to participate in the India leg of the International Army Games that will be held in culturally-rich golden city of Jaisalmer from August 6 to 14, officials said on Monday.
India is all set to host the fifth Army International Scout Masters Competition as part of the games.
It will take part in this discipline for the first time.
The international military sports event in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer will be held for over nine days in August in a bid to promote bonhomie among the participating countries.
China's participation in the mega event is being seen as a bid by Beijing to boost military cooperation with India, after bilateral ties were hit post the Doklam standoff.
"Teams from various countries have arrived for the International Army Games' events here.
The Army Scout Masters Competition will be conducted from August 6 to 14.
These games have been a platform for participating nations to interact and promote bonhomie," a senior official said.
Jaisalmer military station is hosting the Army Scout Masters Competition.
"The competition is a gruesome test of the essential military skills of a soldier, ranging from navigation, team work, physical endurance, map reading, tactical planning and much more," he said.
Besides the Indian army team, seven countries, including China, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, are participating in the event.
"For the past four days, the participating teams have been given extensive and detailed demonstrations and lectures on various stages of the competition and briefed in detail, especially about the regulations and the process of judgement," the official said.
For the next few days, the teams will undertake demonstrations and individual practices to familiarise themselves about the stages, and then they will be given time to carry out training with their respective teams, he said.
"The visiting friendly countries have expressed their pleasure and gratitude on the high standards of the infrastructure and the arrangements that have been created for conduct of this unique event, which in itself is a historic event being organised for the first time in India.
"This competition will be a true test of team spirit, grit, determination and professional skill of the teams," the official said.
The International Army Games, organised by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, have been taking place since 2015 and sees participation of close to 32 countries.
Meanwhile, a nine-member Indian Army team has left for Belarus to compete in the Sniper Frontier Competition as part of the International Army Games scheduled from August 3-17, the Army said in a statement.
"It is a thirteen-day intense sniper competition and encompassing flexibility of mind, physical fitness along with firing," it said.
The competition is likely to have over twenty three participating countries including Russia & China.
Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen D Anbu interacted with the team before they left for Belarus.
The Indian Army team has undergone rigorous training for the competition, it added.
A curtain-raiser of the Army International Scout Masters Competition was held at the Manekshaw Centre here early July which was attended by Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat and several other senior Army officers.
"The championship will offer unique challenges and opportunities.
It is designed to promote co-operation, collaboration and team spirit among the contestants and facilitate sharing of best practices, technology and hardware," Gen Rawat said.
He also said India has been participating in sniper event and tank biathlons as part of the competition.
This year, it is proposed that the International Army Games will have 32 disciplines to be hosted by 10 countries -- Russia, India, China, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, officials said.
Russia had for the first time offered India to host a part of the International Army Games two years ago for its 2018 edition but the hosting was deferred by a year to make adequate preparations, Rawat had told reporters.
Army officials said the role of an army scout is to operate as one of the lead personnel in an operational area to gather information of the enemy by vehicle mounted or dismounted reconnaissance patrols.
"Army scouts track as well as report movement behind enemy lines, assist in disruption of enemy mechanised move by using anti-armour weapons, laying ambushes deep inside enemy territory and direct employment of various weapon systems," an official said.
Their specialised skills enable them to assist with observation and listening posts, perform and help with navigation and help securing launch pads.
They are trained to carry out silent battle reconnaissance after establishing contact and reconnaissance of crossing places over obstacles.
Scouts are professionally trained to find out the strength and dispositions of an enemy, gaps in enemy defences and its likely reactions.
They are also referred to as the 'eyes and ears' of the army, officials said.