London, Jun 18: Twenty-one Indian military personnel and two British soldiers have been injured in a crash involving two troop carriers while they were returning from a joint Indo-UK Army exercise in southwest England.
Indian defence sources said the accident took place last evening when the troops of both countries were coming back after the day's joint exercise which is being held from June 13-28.
"The troop carrier vehicles were being driven by British soldiers. They met with an accident on a by-way while returning from the Salisbury Plain. The injured were immediately evacuated by helicopters. A Captain and a Havaldar were seriously injured while rest got minor injuries," the sources said.
"We can confirm that there has been a road traffic collision in the Salisbury Plain training area in which it is understood there are a number of casualties. The British Army is supporting Wiltshire Police and South West ambulance service with their response to the incident which will be duly investigated," a British Army spokesperson said.
At least two people were airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries during the incident at Salisbury Plain, a military training area owned by the UK's Ministry of Defence.
British&Indian armed forces injured in an accident y'day while forces were returning frm Ex Ajeya Warrior training at Salisbury Plains,UK
British&Indian armed forces injured in an accident y'day while forces were returning frm Ex Ajeya Warrior training at Salisbury Plains,UK— ANI (@ANI_news) June 18, 2015
"We had reports of four to five people with life-changing injuries and approximately 16 others walking wounded. The road traffic collision happened on a by-way which cuts through the plain, hence why we were called," a Wiltshire Police spokesperson said following the incident which occurred in a field near Westdown Camp.
About 120 soldiers from the First Battalion of the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army were participating in the joint exercise code-named Ajeya Warrior held biannually in the two countries alternatively.
Yesterday, Indian troops undertook an exercise in which they simulated the "clearing" of a village of insurgents played by British soldiers, The Guardian newspaper reported.
The aim of the exercise is to build and promote positive military relations between Indian and UK Army and to enhance their ability to undertake joint tactical-level operations in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment under the UN Charter.
Salisbury Plain, a 780-square-kilometre area of land which includes the prehistoric stone circle at Stonehenge, is owned by the Ministry of Defence and is the UK's biggest military training area.