India and the United States began their "Yudh Abhyas" military exercise in Alaska on Sunday, with more than 300 soldiers from both countries taking part. The 17th edition of the military exercise will take place at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage from October 15 to 29. The contingents took part in kabaddi and volleyball contests, as well as a light-hearted snowball fight, as part of the "ice-breaking session" at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage.
It is to be noted that the "Yudh Abhyas" is the two militaries' longest-running cooperative military training and defence cooperation initiative. The previous drill was held in February at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges near Bikaner. The Indian presence for the 15-day drill consists of 350 men from an Indian Army infantry battalion group.
"This exercise is another step in the growing military cooperation between the two countries. The exercise aims at enhancing understanding, cooperation and interoperability between two armies," the Army said in an official statement.
#WATCH | As part of 'Ice-breaking activities', Indian Army contingent and American contingent participated in friendly matches of Kabaddi, American Football and Volleyball at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska (US)— ANI (@ANI) October 17, 2021
(Video Source: Indian Army) pic.twitter.com/Xe6uM0NigT
Indo-US defence ties
Defence ties between India and the United States have improved in recent years. The United States named India as a "Major Defence Partner" in June 2016. In recent years, the two countries have also signed important defence and security agreements, such as the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016, which enables their militaries to use each other's bases for supply repair and replenishment while also allowing for deeper cooperation.
In 2018, the two countries also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which allows for military interoperability and the export of high-end equipment from the US to India. The two countries also signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Pact (BECA) agreement in October of last year to strengthen bilateral defence ties. The agreement allows the two countries to share advanced military technologies, logistics, and geospatial mapping.