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Following Malabar naval exercise, India and US armies gear up for joint military drill in September

The Indian Army is all set to hold the 'Yudh Abhyas', a joint military exercise with the US Army in September. It comes just a month after the tri-nation Malabar naval exercise was held in the Bay of Bengal between India, Japan and the US.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The military exercise will be held at Joint-Base Lewis McChord in the US from 14-27 September, The Times of India reported.

This exercise comes at a time when India and China remain locked in a border standoff near the Doka La tri-border junction in Bhutan.

The exercise will see the two armies climbing Mount Rainer. The 4,392-metre mountain is the highest highest in the US state of Washington, Navbharat Times reported.

"This exercise will not only boost inter-operability between the two armies at the battalion and company levels, but will also help the Indian Army understand the doctrines, battle drills and procedures of the US Army," a senior officer was quoted as saying by Times Now.

Two hundred soldiers from the Gorkha Riflies will take part in the “battalion-level field training exercise with a brigade-level command post" under 'Yudh Abhyas', which the two countries want to upgrade to "a more complex, combined arms, division-level exercise", The Times of India report added.

A White House press release stated that such military exercises can be seen as promotion of closer service ties between the two countries. "Key military and civilian defence leaders continue to meet via reciprocal counterpart visits and strategic and policy dialogues, promoting closer service ties and improving inter-operability among our forces," the release stated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the US in June, and the two countries had pledged to continue their strong defence partnership and broaden military to-military engagements.

Highlighting the importance of India-US defence relationship, US President Donald Trump had said, "The security partnership between the US and India is incredibly important. Our militaries are working every day to enhance cooperation."

"We see a growing convergence with India on our strategic outlook for the region, and we view India as an increasingly important regional security partner within and beyond the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," a recent US Congress report said. It also calls India and US as "natural partners".

The defence cooperation has emerged as an important pillar of the US-India partnership, and both countries enjoy close defence cooperation across a range of areas.

"The defence relationship between the US and India is positive and has come a long way in two decades. There are many up and downs but the relationship is on a positive trajectory," a senior US official said.

The joint India-US military exercise first started in 2004 under the US Army Pacific partnership programme. The longest running joint military training, 'Yudh Abhyas', was last conducted in Chaubattia in Uttarakhand from 14 to 27 September and witnessed participation of about 225 US Army personnel and an equal number of the Indian Army's Congo Brigade officers, The Indian Express reported.

A report in NDTV said that such joint exercises include cordon and search in counter-militant operations, jungle lane shooting, reflex shooting, long-range firing and cliff assault techniques.

In July, the two countries were joined by Japan and the three had held a joint naval exercise, Malabar 2017, in the Bay of Bengal. That was aimed at achieving "deeper military ties between the three nations". As many as 95 aircraft, 16 ships and two submarines from the three countries took part in the exercise. Various maneuvres were undertaken in rough seas as part of the drill.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 08, 2017 16:29 PM

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