India and US are all set to kick off a major combat exercise in Rajasthan next week, in the first such bilateral war game after the Joe Biden administration took charge in Washington and reiterated India’s role as a key partner in the Indo-Pacific as well as the need to strengthen the ‘Quad.’
Indian officials say the ‘Yudh Abhyas’ exercise, which will be held at the Mahajan Field Firing ranges from February 8 to 21, will once again underscore the continuing upward trajectory in defence cooperation with the US, which enjoys bipartisan support among the Democrats and Republicans.
The US contingent for Yudh Abhyas will include a brigade headquarters and a battalion group of around 250 soldiers from a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. India will also field an infantry brigade headquarters and a battalion group from the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry for the exercise.
“The aim is to further enhance interoperability in counter-terrorist operations in a semi-urban, semi-desert terrain, along with attack helicopters and infantry combat vehicles,” said an officer.
Yudh Abhyas, which comes after India conducted the 24thedition of the top-notch `Malabar’ naval exercise with the other Quad countries (US, Japan and Australia) in November, will be followed by the ‘Vajra Prahar’ land combat exercise in March.