M A I N   N E W S

Joint Indo-US exercises

Vairangte (Mizoram), April 7
Carrying forward the increasing defence cooperation between India and the USA, the two countries are engaged in their first-ever joint counter-insurgency (CI) and low-intensity combat operations (LICO) exercise in the sub-tropical jungles of Mizoram.

“Wars between large conventional armies are no longer very probable and the focus today is on the low-intensity operations and more increasingly on countering the scourge of terrorism,” Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare (CIJW) School Commandant Brig B.K. Ponwar said.

Briefing newspersons on the exercise, code named ‘Yudh Abhyas,’ he said the aim was to conduct a joint unconventional exercise in jungle terrain as part of Indo-USA defence cooperation.

“The exercise will comprise practice of tactical operations in a counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism/environment, unconventional operations in jungle terrain, intelligence gathering and psychological operations,” Brigadier Ponwar said. ‘Intervention operations’ in urban and semi-urban environment were also scheduled, he added.

Inter-operability between the two is being ensured by creating two company-level task forces of a mixture of US and Indian troops, integration down to section and ‘buddy’ level, basing command and control structures on both countries, familiarisation with and use of each other’s weapons and equipment, synergisation of weapon, equipment and drills and formulation of joint standard operating proceedures (SOPs) of specific missions like ambushes, raids, etc.

Commander of the US component Lieut-Col David Wisecarver said his men were eager to work with and learn from the experience of their Indian counterparts.

Noting that the US Army did not have much experience of jungle warfare, due to the “restricted jungle terrain” in the USA, he said the lessons learnt here would “be passed on” to other units in the USA.

The Indian component in the exercise comprises a rifle company from the 9 Rajputs, as well as support and administration elements, while USA is represented by an infantry platoon from the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Infantry Regiment and a squad of National Guards.

Nicknamed ‘Cold Steel,’ the 2/1 is part of the the Alaska-based 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) ‘Snow Hawks.’ — UNI

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