India, US set for major war games in Rajasthan desert

The Indian Army is all set to undertake two major exercises in Rajasthan desert, including one with the US Army, to fine tune its war fighting strategies.

For the exercise with USA titled “Yudh Abhyas 2012” to be held in March second week, an advance group of 30 US military personnel, along with a platoon of its trademark armoured vehicle Stryker and support equipment landed in New Delhi in the early hours of Monday.

The rest of the contingent comprising another 170 personnel is expected to arrive soon. They will move straight to the training area in Rajasthan where the exercise will be conducted under the aegis of the South Western Command.

Within weeks of completing the bilateral exercise, troops in the south western command will engage in another large-scale war-game titled “Shoor Veer” that will involve more than 200 tanks and fighter planes of the Indian Air Force. It will begin in March and culminate in May.

Both war games will be held in Rajasthan desert, close to the Pakistan border. Islamabad will be duly informed about the exercises. Strykers came to India for the first time in 2009 for an exercise with the Indian Army at Babina near Jhansi. That was for the first time Stryker was deployed in anywhere Asia other than Afghanistan where these heavy duty armoured personnel carrier were put to use.

The 2012 Indo-US joint exercise is designed to promote cooperation at the tactical level while sharing training procedures and building joint operating skills.

During the exercise, troops from both nations will engage in joint planning for a variety of missions, including live fire drills, cordon and search operations and search and rescue training.

The second exercise will start immediately after the US troops left and would involve an wide array of tanks, infantry combat vehicles, artillery guns, helicopters, fighter jets, UAVs, air defence weapons and radars.

The exercise will be based on the integrated theatre battle concept and will be one of the largest maneuvers conducted so far, said the spokesperson.

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