The Indian and U.S. armies have started the thirteenth iteration of their Yudh Abhyas series of joint military exercises.
The exercise began on September 14 at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state in the United States and will go on until September 27.
The United States and India trade off on hosting iterations of the exercises. The first-ever drill under the Yudh Abhyas moniker was carried out in 2004 at the platoon level and has since been expanded.
The exercise this year will focus primarily on the counter-terrorism operations and will also included strategic consultations between senior armed forces officers on both sides.
Last year’s Yudh Abhyas was held in India, in the Chaubatia foothills in India’s state of Uttarakhand near the Sino-Indian border.
As The Diplomat reported at the time, the “focus of the exercise will be counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in mountainous terrain under a UN mandate.”
Though the U.S. Department of Defense or Pacific Command has not publicly confirmed the exact scope of this year’s exercise, it is likely intended to focus on similar operations under a United Nations mandate.
The Indian Defense Ministry released a statement noting that the exercise would allow troops from both sides to “hone their tactical skills in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations under a joint brigade headquarter.”
“Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peace keeping operations,” it added.
“Experts from both sides will hold detailed discussions to share their experience and expertise on varied operational topics.”
Generally, both sides use the Yudh Abhyas exercises to plan and execute a range of tactical scenarios vital to UN peacekeeping scenarios. This year’s iteration will give particular attention to counterterrorism applications.
Last year’s iteration in India involved a number of Indian Army helicopters, which played a role in helping simulate troop drops into hostile territory.