Exercise Desert Cyclone 2024 will include a focus on operations in urban settings
India and the UAE have marked a new chapter in bilateral defence cooperation with the inaugural joint military exercise ‘Desert Cyclone’.
Being held from January 2-15, 2023 in the desert landscapes of Rajasthan, 'Desert Cyclone 2024' aims to synchronize tactical approaches, aligning operational procedures, communication protocols, and tactical manoeuvres for seamless cooperation in urban combat.

“Exercise #DesertCyclone_2024 The Inaugural edition of Joint Military Exercise #DesertCyclone, between #India & #UAE, will be conducted from 02 Jan to 15 Jan 2024 in #Rajasthan. The exercise aims to enhance interoperability by learning & sharing best practices in Urban Operations,” the Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI) of the Indian Army said in a statement on social media platform X.
Participants from the two sides are set to exchange expertise in urban warfare techniques, share benchmark initiatives for navigating urban environments, and discuss minimizing collateral damage. The exercise is expected to include hands-on training in complex urban settings, addressing challenges like close-quarter battles and civilian safety. 

During exercises like “Desert Cyclone 2024’, a significant emphasis is placed on employing advanced military technology, such as surveillance drones and urban warfare vehicles. Scenario-based drills are designed to sharpen decision-making skills and tactical adaptability in fast-paced urban scenarios. Joint operational planning forms a core component, birthing a cohesive strategy development between the two nations. 
The Indian Army has in the past stressed the importance of joint military exercises with friendly nations in enhancing the capabilities of armed forces across various aspects of warfare. The latest engagement aims to contribute to the ongoing advancement and modernization of military operations.

Earlier this year, the Indian Navy's INS Visakhapatnam and INS Trikand, under the leadership of Rear Admiral Vineet McCarty, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF), participated in the bilateral exercise ‘Zayed Talwar’ with the UAE. This exercise, aimed at reinforcing interoperability and collaborative efficiency, was an important predecessor to the ‘Desert Cyclone 2024’.
India-UAE ties have come a long way since they established diplomatic relations in 1972. The UAE set up its Embassy in Delhi the same year; India opened its Embassy in Abu Dhabi in 1973. The defence relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has expanded since then, by focusing on the development of steady and secure maritime bilateral ties.

Desert Cyclone ’24, hence takes forward this growing defence cooperation. Themes which are expected to be explored are “trust”, “strategic alignment, and “shared vision for regional security and stability” that both countries have cultivated over time.
The operation additionally provides an opportunity for both, India and the UAE, to test and refine their joint operational capabilities. There will be an enhanced focus on the trial and execution of advanced military technologies and equipment.
There is also a strategic intent behind scheduling the operation in the beginning of the year. While physical conditions such as the conduciveness of Rajasthan’s cooler months for rigorous outdoor military exercises remains a key determinant, the exercise has been timed to strategically aid the operational momentum of the armed forces with the commencement of this new year. The military also revealed their set training calendars and how this exercise will fit into the broader annual training chart between India and other partners.
The historical India-UAE relationship, enriched by centuries of cultural, religious, and economic ties, lays a strong foundation for such military collaborations. 

The 'Desert Cyclone 2024' exercise attests to the evolving India-UAE partnership, proliferating shared learning and mutual growth in military capabilities. As the defence ties between these nations deepen, they not only contribute to regional stability but also reinforce their diplomatic relations". Their engagement in joint military exercises signifies a collective aspiration for peace and security, emphasizing the role of international alliances in confronting current security challenges.
This exercise is in line with the broader strategy of engaging in joint military exercises with friendly nations. They are crucial for constructive military engagements and skill enhancement in armed forces. India and UAE plan to advance their communication protocols, cross-train in diverse warfare zones and collaborate on the development of defence methodologies developed from the modernized equipment.