Babina (UP), Oct. 26 (ANI): A senior commander of the U.S. Army on Monday said that having a professional force like the Indian Army at its disposal, especially in highly aggressive war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, would always be welcome.
"The Indian Army is a professional force and the US Army will be comfortable with it anywhere," Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, Commander, Pacific Command, said in reply to a question on whether the US Army is ready to seek India's help in Iraq and Afghanistan in a counter terror and insurgency operation.
Lt. Gen. Mixon, who was addressing accompanying media on the sidelines of the first ever Indo-US joint mechanized forces exercise in Babina, Uttar Pradesh, further went on to say:" We want to work together as militaries to establish peace in Asia-Pacific region. If any eventuality occurs in future, we are better prepared to work together."
He also claimed that the exercise had so far been a wonderful and worthwhile experience, and had gone a long way in raising the level of understanding between the two armies.
"The counter insurgency/terror exercise with India has been absolutely fantastic and it has helped the US soldiers to understand India in a better way," Lt. Gen. Mixon said.
From the Indian side, Lt. General A.S. Sekhon, Director General, Military Operations, said: "This is a training exercise and it is not aimed at anybody. We are trying to know each other's procedures. The is all about training with the US Army to enhance our understanding and capability."
A significant aspect of the 17-day exercise that commenced on October 17 and concludes on October 29, is that for the first time the US Army has deployed the Javelin Missile and Stryker armoured vehicles to act as force multipliers in a third country other than Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another first is that of the Indian mechanized battalion participating along with Strykers Squadron in a joint exercise under overall command of an Indian Brigade headquarters.
So far, the achievements of the joint exercise called Yudh Abhyas-2009 are:
Both sides have achieved interoperability and capability to function alongside for operations under an UN mandate and The US troops were exposed to rich culture and tradition of India. The Indian troops gained exposure to contemporary weapons systems used by US troops.The overall aim of the exercise is to conduct a joint Indo-US training exercise under the framework of an agreed joint training program for sharing useful experience in peacekeeping operations, humanitarian and disaster managements and relief operations.
Two hundred and ninety five personnel are representing the US Army, while 700 personnel are representing the Indian Army.
Yudh Abhyas is a regularly scheduled bilateral exercise hosted by the Indian Army.
The exercise is designed to promote cooperation between the two militaries while sharing training, cultural exchanges, and building joint operating skills.
This year's Yudh Abhyas features 17 Stryker vehicles - the largest deployment of the vehicles outside of Iraq and Afghanistan for the U.S. Pacific Rim forces.
Along with the 17 Strykers, the U.S. will showcase the Javelin Anti-Tank Missile system, employed to defeat current and future threat armored combat vehicles.
The YA 2009 constitutes the largest troop exchange since the YA partnership exercise commenced in 2004.
Indian Army soldiers from the 31st Armored Division are working with U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry regiment, "Strykehorse," 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
This year's exercise includes a multi-echelon, full spectrum combined operation focusing on a United Nations peacekeeping operation scenario, while executing a maneuver live-fire exercise.
During the exercise, participants will engage in a variety of missions, from joint planning and maneuver execution, a variety of artillery ranges, to cordon and search operations as well as search and rescue training. By Praful Kumar Singh(ANI)