India, US begin ‘Yudh Abhyas’ in Alaska

Yudh Abhyas
The military exercise was first conducted in 2004. Photo: Twitter /@adgpi

The Indian and US armies kick-started the 19th edition of exercise Yudh Abhyas in Alaska on September 25. It is an annual exercise conducted jointly by the Indian Army and the US Army.

The military exercise was first conducted in 2004.

Yudh Abhyas is aimed at improving the interoperability of the Indian Army and US Army to increase partner capacity for conventional, complex and future contingencies throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

The previous edition of the exercise was conducted in Auli, Uttarakhand in November 2022.

Yudh Abhyas-23 will involve an exchange of views and best practices in drills on a wide spectrum of military skills, including combat engineering, obstruction clearance, and improvised explosive device warfare.

The two-week war game in Fort Wainwright will feature a number of complex drills.

The theme of the exercise is ‘Employment of an Integrated Battle Group in Mountain/Extreme Climatic Conditions’ under Chapter VII of the United Nations mandate.

The lead battalion from the Indian side in the exercise is affiliated with the Maratha Light Infantry regiment. The 1-24 infantry battalion of the first brigade combat team is participating from the US side.

Other bilateral exercises include: 

i) Cope India (Air Force)

ii) Vajra Prahar (Special Forces) 

iii) Tiger Triumph (a tri-services exercise inaugurated in 2019).

Major Defence Partner

• The Indo-US defence ties have been on an upswing in the last few years.

• In June 2016, the US designated India a ‘Major Defence Partner’ paving way for sharing of critical military equipment and technology.

• The two countries have also inked key defence and security pacts over the past few years, including the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 that allows their militaries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

• The two sides also signed COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) in 2018 which provides for interoperability between the two militaries and provides for the sale of high-end technology from the US to India.

• In October 2020, India and the US sealed the BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) agreement to further boost bilateral defence ties. The pact provides for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between the two countries.

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