CHAUBATTIA MILITARY STATION, India -- U.S. Army Soldiers with the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, stood with the Indian army's 12 Madras Thursday, Sept. 15, on a parade field nestled high in the mountains for the opening ceremony for the annual bilateral training exercise known as Yudh Abhyas.

This U.S. Army Pacific-sponsored exercise, taking place approximately 200 miles northeast of New Dehli, India, is geared toward enhancing cooperation and coordination through training and cultural exchanges to build the relationships necessary to mount joint peacekeeping operations. This marks the exercise's 12th year.

The Soldiers from 5-20th Infantry Regiment had traveled all the way from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to train with the soldiers and officers of the Indian army's 12 Madras. During the exercise, they will tackle improvised explosive device lanes, cordon and search, battlefield trauma management, room clearing, a command post exercise and more.

Members of the California National Guard, as well as civilian observers from around the world, are helping facilitate the exercise. Each element provides a unique perspective on the complex issues of peacekeeping operations today.

The training should provide ample opportunities for U.S. service members to learn more about conducting U.N. operations from their Indian army counterparts. The exercise will also afford the U.S. Soldiers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Indian culture.

Prior to the ceremony, history was made when the first U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster landed at the Bareilly airport in India. Capt. Stephen Petraeus, commander of Company C, 5-20th Infantry Regiment, led the 1-2 SBCT contingent aboard the C-17.

"We are swapping around some of the leadership so our Soldiers can get an idea of what the Indian army is capable of, and for the Indian army to see the professionalism and the caliber of Soldiers that we have in our Army as well," said Petraeus.

"We will show them our weapons systems, and they will show us theirs. We will do other training exercises that use the best of both of our experiences as armies, and, hopefully, we will pass along those valuable experiences to each other."