India, US start military exercises in Raj desert

New Delhi: India and US kick-started their two week-long joint military exercise in the Rajasthan desert today with their troops set to engage each other in a series of anti-terrorist and urban warfare drills.

"The US Army is being represented by troops from 25 Infantry Division while the Indian side has pitched in troops from Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and Mechanised Infantry," an official said.

The 170-strong member US team is being led by Colonel Thomas J Roth, Commander of 2nd Engineer Brigade and the Indian side is being commanded by Brigadier B S Dhanoa.

Both sides will jointly plan and execute a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peace operations, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

The war games which will be conducted over the next two weeks will see troops from both the sides hone their tactical and technical skills in a UN peace enforcement scenario involving mechanised forces, he added.

The exercise will also involve drills and manoeuvres involving Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV) and Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC).

State of the art equipment for surveillance and tracking, specialist weapons for close quarter battle with terrorists, explosive and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detectors, as well as the latest communications equipment is being deployed by both sides, the spokesperson added.

The US had participated in exercise `Yudh Abhyas-2009` with the Indian Army, when it had taken its Stryker infantry armoured vehicles outside of its operational area to a foreign land.