The 12th Indo-US Joint Military Training Exercise, Yudh Abhyas – 2016 was held at Chaubattia Military Station, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, from September 14 to 26. Initiated in 2004 under US Army Pacific Partnership Program, it has come to be institutionalized with the aim of strengthening and broadening inter-operability and cooperation between the Indian and US armies. It is the third time that this Indo-US army exercise has been conducted in the mountainous terrain around Chaubattia and complements a number of other exchanges between the forces.
Over the years the two countries have decided to progressively increase the scope and content of the combined exercise and Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2016 has witnessed a brigade headquarter based command post exercise, an infantry company carrying out field training exercise, along with discussions on issues of mutual interest by experts of both countries. The exercise provided an ideal platform for the personnel of the two countries to share their experiences on counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations, especially in the mountainous.
The exercise curriculum was planned progressively with the participants initially being made to get familiar with each other’s organizational structure, weapons, equipment, and tactical drills. Subsequently, the training advanced to joint tactical exercises wherein the battle drills of both the armies are being coherently practiced. The joint drills include room intervention, cordon and search in counter-terrorist operations, jungle lane shooting, reflex shooting, long range firing and cliff assault techniques.
The commanders and staff officers of both armies were also exercised to work in close coordination to receive and collate intelligence and to issue suitable operational orders to the combined field training components, who executed these orders on ground in a simulated realistic situation, in the command post exercise covering all the planning aspects.
The bilateral training was brought to a meaningful culmination by conducting a final validation exercise on 26 September, in which all the learning mutually imparted by both armies was put to test on the ground, which included induction of troops by helicopters into a notional hostile area to neutralize terrorists.
Conducted within the scope of counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations under the charter of the United Nations, this exercise has also helped in creating, apart from the professional interaction between Indian and American troops, a reasonable amount of interesting social intermingling resulting in some exciting and even entertaining events like celebrating each others’ festivals, following customs, etc, without language being a barrier. In a past serial of this exercise during which Holi was jointly celebrated it was quite a treat to see American troops with their faces smeared with color reveling with their Indian counterparts.