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Indian soldiers train with US Army in Alaska

November 04, 2010 15:04 IST

Indian armymen are holding an annual joint military exercise with their American counterparts involving airborne specialist operations in sub-zero temperatures in Alaska.

The fortnight-long exercise, which began on November 1, will witness 200 Indian infantrymen carrying out joint operations training, Yudh Abhyas (War Drill), at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richarson with airborne forces of the US army,
Indian army officers said on Thursday.

"The Indian team comprises infantry men from units of 62 Infantry Brigade and 5 Para. They will be holding the exercise till November 14 with the US army's 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), which is also known as 'Spartan' of 25th Infantry Division, and the 79th Brigade Combat Team (National Guard)," the officers said.

The exercise will test the mettle of the Indian army men in performing operations in extreme cold conditions in Alaska where the temperature hovers around minus 20 degree Celsius.

Yudh Abhyas is a regularly-scheduled bilateral, conventional-forces training exercise, sponsored by US army (Pacific) and the Indian army.

The exercise is designed to promote cooperation between the two militaries to promote interoperability through the combined military decision-making process, through battle tracking and maneuvering forces, and exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures.

Last year, an armoured unit of the US army was in Babina in central India to train in use of armoured personnel carriers in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations under the UN peace-keeping mandate.

The US army itself views this year's Yudh Abhyas as "a challenge, something unique and definitely a lesson in patience with the language barrier," as it involves training foreign troops in American operational doctrines.

Training included instruction on various US army weapons systems, evaluating and evacuating a casualty, and hands-on training with the Engagement Skills Trainer.

The weapons training included hands-on instruction on the M-4 carbine with which the Indian troops later performed a live-fire training.

During the exercise, US soldiers and their Indian counterparts will conduct a command post exercise, airborne operations training, marksmanship and tactical training and take part in cultural exchanges to improve partnership readiness and cooperation between the two armies.

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