The Indian armed forces are planning a round of combat exercises with foreign forces in the coming months.

India is using defence diplomacy as a tool to bolster national security and to promote strategic cooperation, according to the Times of India.

The 1.13-million-strong Indian Army has plans for 14-18 exercises with countries including the US, the UK, Russia, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Thailand and Tajiskistan, Defence Ministry officials have said.

The armies of the Seychelles and Singapore will participate in joint combat exercises to be held in January 2011.

Other wargames include the Malabar naval wargames, the Habu Nag amphibious exercise at Okinawa, Japan, the Vajra Prahar counterterrorism drills at Belgaum and the Balance Iroquois exercise with US special forces.

The India Army conducted over 60 exercises between 2001 and 2009, of which over a third were with the US.