Vairengte (Mizoram): Captain Greg Adams and troops of the U.S. Army’s Special Force, Green Berets, watched with rapt attention as soldiers of the Special Force of the Indian Army crawled on a jungle strip towards a mock insurgent hideout, with the Israeli Tavors in their hands booming deafeningly.

As live bullets from automatic weapons flew in all directions, 24 personnel of the Green Berets learnt a few lessons from their buddies of the Special Force on how to fight a guerrilla like a guerrilla.

Capt. Adams and his team arrived at the firing range of the Counter-Insurgency Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) here on Monday after hours of exciting joint manoeuvres. They were flown over the Mizoram hills by an Indian Air Force chopper, the hilly terrain providing the perfect setting for learning jungle warfare and counter-insurgency skills.

The soldiers of both the armies emplaned and deplaned in batches of 10 during the slithering exercise from the chopper at the CIJWS helipad here. During the ‘style exercise,’ they hovered over the hilly terrain of Vairengte in groups of five.

“It is excellent training. The Indian Army has a lot of experience in counter-insurgency and jungle warfare and it will be very useful to us. We enjoyed the training. We also shared our experience with them,” said Capt. Adams, who has the experience of operating in Iraq. Some of the personnel of the Green Berets have also been to Afghanistan on assignments. Puneet Atwal of the Special Force said “it is a wonderful learning experience for both sides.”

The manoeuvres were part of their fifth joint exercise — Vajra Prahar-08 — that began at the CIJWS on August 4 and will continue till August 24. The first joint exercise was held in April 2003, the second in March 2004, the third in September 2005 and the fourth in August 2007. A total of 133 U.S. personnel have undergone training at the CIJWS so far.

“Faced with terror attacks in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army is keen to learn from Indian Army’s experience in combating insurgency for the last 50 years. One can’t think of a better staging ground for this exercise between the two forces than the CIJWS. This is the best training institute of its kind.

For its special field of training to fight insurgencies, the School has been recognised as a Centre of Excellence for counter insurgency training,” said CIJWS Commandant Brigadier A.K. Ram.

Over the 38 years since its inception, 1,487 personnel of 25 countries and 1,56,000 personnel of all ranks of the Indian Armed Forces, Navy, paramilitary forces and central police organisations have been trained here.