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Karnataka: US Marines take to kabaddi

October 31, 2006 17:54 IST

After a joint anti-terrorism exercise with the Indian Army at the Commando Training Centre in Belgaum, US soldiers will take back not just experience of rigorous commando training, but also a quintessentially Indian sport -- kabaddi.

Shatrujeet 2006, the counter-terrorism exercise in which a company of the Punjab Regiment's 21st Battalion and 2/4 Marine company of US Army are participating, started at Belgaum in northern Karnataka on October 25 and will end on November 3.

The aim of the exercise, the commanding officer of 21 Punjab Colonel Vijay Nair, said, is "to enhance joint operability of the two armies".

But in the process, while training for operations like cordon-and-search or storming a terrorist hideout, the US Marines picked up kabaddi and even rudimentary cricket.

Kabaddi fascinated them, one of the American platoon commanders, Lt Lee, told reporters in Belgaum.

"My troops are playing kabaddi in barracks too. They are impressed with the game and the agility of the Indian troops," said Lt Lee.

The only hitch -- as an Indian officer put it tongue-in-cheek -- is that the Americans pronounce kabbadi as "cup of tea".

The current exercise, in which around 160 troops of each country are involved, is a follow-up to Shatrujeet 05 held at Camp Pendleton in the US last year.

Kapil Kelkar in Belgaum
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