The eighteenth edition of India-US joint military exercise Yudh Abhyas is currently underway in Uttarakhand, around 100 kilometres from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
The nearly two-week exercise, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between India and China along the LAC, began earlier this month.
The exercise started just days before the 60th anniversary of the end of the India-China war of 1962. The fact that the exercise is taking place close to India's frontier with China is being seen as a message to Beijing about the increasingly close military ties between New Delhi and Washington.
The exercise is conducted annually between India and the US to exchange best practices, tactics, techniques and procedures between the two nations' armies. The previous edition of the exercise was conducted at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, in October 2021.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Defence said that US Army soldiers of the 2nd Brigade of the 11th Airborne Division and Indian Army soldiers from the Assam Regiment would be participating in the exercise.
It said the training schedule for the exercise focuses on the employment of an integrated battle group under Chapter VII of the UN Mandate.
“With around 350 soldiers from each side, Yudh Abhyas will witness employment of integrated battle groups in mountains and extreme cold climate, along with heliborne elements and an integrated surveillance grid," a report in the Times of India quoted an officer as saying.
Earlier this year, China opposed the exercise, calling it an “interference in the bilateral boundary issue and a violation of agreements between New Delhi and Beijing that no military drill will be held near the LAC".
"I don't understand the reference to third-party interference. India-US exercise is totally different and I don't know what colour has been given to that," the spokesperson of India's External Affairs Ministry said in response.
With inputs from PTI
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