FORT BRAGG, N.C.-- The U.S. Army Pacific sponsored a bilateral training exercise between the U.S. and Indian Army May 3-17 focused on the two country's cultures, weapons training and tactics.

Yudh Abhyas, Hindi for "training for war," is an annual exercise brings together two battle-hardened armies beyond the typical footprints of war. After nine years of conducting this operation, lifetime bonds between U.S. and Indian Soldiers have developed.

The Indian Army's 99th Mountain Brigade and the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division participated in this year's exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C.. Other units represented were the 3rd Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment from the U.S. forces; and from India, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Gurka Rifles; the 50th Independent Para Brigade, and the 54th Engineers Regiment.

"This partnership is one of the very good things that has happened between the United States and India," said Brig. Gen Jagdish Chaudari, Indian Army's 99th Mt. Bde commander.

"We have interacted with at least 500 Army personnel here, if not more, and I think those interpersonal relationships will carry on for a long time," Chaudari explained.
These Soldiers trained and planned side-by-side with one another during a series of field training and command post exercises.

"That was the highlight for me," said Maj. Greg Phillips, USARPAC's India desk officer. "It demonstrates that our Soldiers can work with anyone anywhere in the world."

For this training scenario, Indian and U.S Soldiers operated together under a United Nations mandate and had to overcome operational, logistical, humanitarian and legal challenges to achieve mission success.

"We [sought] to integrate our troops, our equipment and focus our training so we will be able to achieve such a task if the future ever presents it," said Col. Anindya Sengupta, a planning officer for the 99th Mountain Bde.

This planning process is what helped develop the bond between the Soldiers, Sengupta said. Despite a bit of a language barrier between some of them, they were all on the same accord when it came down to understanding the objective.

"As [Soldiers], we have a common thing about language. We understand each other," explained Sengupta. "The Americans have operated less in the U.N., where the Indians have operated more. However, the U.N. procedures are more common to the American procedures. So therefore, there is a lot of understanding that is inherent.

"Since the language is common and since many of the procedures are similar, our understanding of the operation and our understanding of the execution is there."

This exercise will shift to India next year and may involve different units from both sides. By incorporating different units and shifting back and forth between the two countries, it helps the Soldiers get a broader aspect of one another's culture and helps to maximize bilateral readiness & the understanding of capabilities between the two armies, Phillips said.

"They are teaching us their culture and values, so we can understand how to evaluate them," Phillips said." It was a delight to work with the Indian Army because they are professional, competent Soldiers who are able to teach us a lot and learn from us while doing so."