CHAUBATTIA MILITARY STATION, India -- Soldiers with the U.S. Army's 7th Infantry Division and the Indian army's 99th Mountain Brigade officially began this year's Yudh Abhyas training exercise with an opening ceremony held Sept. 16, 2018, at Chaubattia Military Station.
This year's training, located in the mountains approximately 200 miles northeast of New Delhi, involves approximately 350 U.S. Army Soldiers and 350 Indian army soldiers. The training design enhances the joint capabilities through training and cultural exchange, and help foster enduring partnerships in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
"For the first time, the Yudh Abhyas exercise is being held at the division level," said Maj. Gen. William Graham, the force commander for YA 18. "The increase from a brigade-level command post exercise to a division command post exercise is proof of our maturing relationship.
"Bringing our Soldiers together and training for an ever-increasingly complex world, is certainly a necessity for fighting in the 21st century. At the center of what we are working on today is improving our bilateral readiness and our joint ability to fight and win together."
Yudh Abhyas 18 will provide opportunities for professional exchanges that strengthen military partnership through shared learning and training. A command post exercise will focus on U.N. peacekeeping operation staff tasks in a combined unit setting. A field training exercise will involve platoon-strength elements from each nation exercising fundamental warfighting skills to enhance combined operational capacity. The CPX and FTX will run concurrently.
"This is perfect opportunity to reach across nations and to share information between two partner armies," said Lt. Col. Andrew Steadman, the commander of 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment. "It is a unique experience for our Soldiers and for the Indian soldiers because they can see how another army operates. They have different systems and ways to train to fight than we have in our Army."
Training starts with expert academic exchanges and development workshops that focus on training at the division-level and below; combat against conventional, unconventional, and hybrid threats; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
"During the next few weeks, we are going to share tactics, techniques, and procedures to enhance each army's readiness," Steadman said. "We will emerge at the end of this exercise a more capable unit because we will be exposed to a whole different set of warfighting skills that we are not familiar with. It will challenge our Soldiers' assumptions in the way they look at combat. In turn they will be able to share their experience with the Indians, which will make everyone better soldiers."
Members of the California National Guard as well as civilian observers from around the world are helping facilitate the exercise. Each element will provide different perspectives to the complex issues of peacekeeping operations today.
"This is another opportunity to augment our knowledge base," said Steadman. "We have told our Soldiers to take everything in that they can from the Indian army. We are partners here. We encourage them to ask questions and learn. Through that process, we will all become better Soldiers.
"This exercise has continued to tighten the relationship between the U.S. and the Indian Army. As we continue to form those bonds and those collective skills, each of the army units will have more confidence that we will be ready if we have to support each other in the future."