Chengdu, China: The martial drill by Indian soldiers lasted for about 20 minutes but it was enough to leave the personnel of the 1st Battalion Infantry Division of 13 Group of the PLA in shock and awe.
On the last day of the Handin-Hand joint training exercise, some Chinese soldiers were still shaking their heads about the “Gatka” (martial art practiced by Sikh warrior clans) performed by the personnel from the 16 Sikh Light Infantry during the exercise.
The performance had started with stick fights but soon props like swords, nails and hammers were added. Selected Indian soldiers were trained in Gatka by a specialist for four months, an officer said. The training clearly paid off.
“It was a very strong show. I had never seen anything like it. I have seen Bollywood singing and dancing but this was very tough. This was very different. It must have hurt,” said Major Zhang.
On the last day, the exercise culminated in a hail of bullets, grenades, anti-tank rockets and mortar shells as soldiers from both countries took on a group of “100 terrorists” in a simulated anti-terrorism operation.
“It was a very professionally carried out exercise. Though our modules of training are different, the soldiers coordinated well,” Colonel Gaurav Srivastava, commanding officer of the Sikh Light unit said.
Language was a problem but translators helped the soldiers in understanding each other, he added. The soldiers also got a taste of each other’s culture by having common dinners throughout the exercise.