The Indo-US war exercise called Yudh Abhyas 2011-12 has started in the deserts of Rajasthan and the joint drills will feature troops from both nations engaging each other in a series of counter-terror activities and urban warfare training. While the US Army was represented by troops from 25 Infantry Division, the Indian side consists of troops from Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and Mechanised Infantry.
While the US team consisting of 170 members is being led by Colonel Thomas J Roth, Commander of 2nd Engineer Brigade, his Indian counterpart will be Brigadier B S Dhanoa. Yudh-Abhyas 2011-12 will consist of series of tactical drills carried out by Indian and US troops over a period of two weeks. One of the motives behind the exercise is to neutralize possible threats that could be encountered in peace keeping operations of UN.
The session would also involve drills and military exercises involving Infantry Combat Vehicles and Armoured Personnel Carrier. Advanced tools for monitoring and training from both sides are also being used and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection equipment and other sophisticated communications equipment is also being installed as part of the drill. The two armies will train together and conduct manoeuvres, especially those related to securing lines of communication, search-and-rescue operations and intelligence requirements for sustained peace enforcement.
Yudh-Abhyas 2011-12 will also be milestone in Indo-US defence interactions as for the first time, the US will deploy their tanks in India. Apart from fielding three tanks, the US will also deploy around 200 men accompanied by armoured personnel carriers for the wargames. As for the Indian side, they will field their Russian BMP Infantry Combat Vehicles and Arjun and T-90/72/55 MBTs. The US had participated in exercise 'Yudh Abhyas-2009' with the Indian Army, when it had taken its Stryker infantry armoured vehicles outside of its operational area to a foreign land.
The Indo-US defence interactions have been growing significantly and the rising number of joint military drills has helped to foster greater bilateral ties. The rising number of joint drills affirms the growing interoperability of both the nations’ Armed Forces and the willingness to learn from the other side’s experience.
Once the Yudh-Abhyas 2011-12 is completed, another military exercise will be held in California in April this year called ‘Shatrujeet’. This exercise will involve soldiers from the US Armed Forces who will be joined by more than 130 Indian soldiers from the infantry division. Later in August, 60 soldiers from the American Special Forces will hold a joint high-altitude military training exercise together with the Para Commandos of India. Close to 60 Indian Special Forces soldiers will take part in this exercise, which is scheduled to be held in Chaubatia, Uttarakhand.