The exercise, which is in its 16th year, builds on the enduring Indian-US military partnership, the US Army’s Indo-Pacific Command said

Exhibiting the strength and depth of their defence ties, the US Army and Indian Army on Monday began a fortnight-long joint military exercise, Yudh Abhyas 20, along the Pakistan border in Rajasthan. This is the 16th annual edition of the joint military exercise under the military exchange programme.

Announcing the start of Yudh Abhyas at the Mahajan Field Firing Range, the South Western Command of the Indian Army tweeted on Monday, “Joint military exercise between Indian Army and US Army commenced today at MFFR, Rajasthan; enhancing cooperation and interoperability in CounterInsurgency operations under UN mandate.”

“Yudh Abhyas is in its 16th year and builds on the enduring Indian-US military partnership,” the US Army, Pacific, which is the Service Component Command (ASCC) to US Indo-Pacific Command tweeted, sharing pictures of Indian and US soldiers on the eve of the bilateral exercise.

“Indian & U.S. soldiers share some laughs and tea at training base in India, as their brigade commanders discuss preparations for 16th annual Yudh Abhyas, a bilateral exercise which builds on the enduring Indian-U.S. military partnership in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Army’s 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team that is participating in the exercise tweeted.

The American soldiers participating in the exercise also includes the US Army's 2 Infantry Battalions and 3 Infantry Regiments. The Indian soldiers participating in the exercise belong to the 11th battalion of Sapt Shakti Command of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles.

Earlier, the 250 strong US Army contingent reached Suratgarh on Saturday in a special aircraft and left for Mahajan Field Firing Range, the site of the joint ‘war exercise’. The Indian Army team is also about 250-strong.

According to an official release by the US Embassy in India, this annual training exercise enhances combined interoperability capabilities through training and cultural exchange, which foster enduring partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region through common defense objectives.

Yudh Abhyas 20 provides excellent opportunities for professional and cultural exchanges that strengthen our partnership through shared learning and training. The joint exercise follows nearly two-and-a-half months after India carried out the Malabar naval exercise with the US, Japan, and Australia, which are the member nations of the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition.

“The command post exercise (CPX) will focus on U.N. peacekeeping operation staff tasks in a combined military setting. A field training exercise (FTX) will involve company-strength elements from each nation exercising combined, fundamental war-fighting skills to enhance combined operational capacity. The CPX and FTX will run concurrently,” the statement added.