US-India Begin Military Drills in Alaska, With Fun Games, Kabaddi & Snowball Fight Hogging Limelight
16:42 GMT 17.10.2021 (Updated: 20:02 GMT 19.10.2022)
India's growing military exercises with the United States are a sign of an uptick in defence ties between the world's two largest democracies. In 2016, India became a "Major Defence Partner" of the United States, before signing several security pacts in the following years, including an agreement on the usage of each other's bases.
India and the United States are currently engaged in a joint military drill named "Yudh Abhyas" ("War Practice" in English) in Alaska at the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage.
The two militaries kicked off the exercise with an "ice-breaking session", where the contingents, featuring 300 soldiers from each side, participated in some fun sessions.
While matches of India's local Kabaddi and volleyball were much sought after during the light-hearted sessions, the snowball fight in the chilly conditions of Anchorage allowed the troops to build a friendly bond with each other.
"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 Indian Army said in a statement.
The "Yudh Abhyas" is the oldest military exercise between the armies of the two countries. The first edition of the joint exercise was hosted by India in its north-eastern state of Mizoram in 2004. It has been hosted alternately by the two nations since then.
The ongoing 15-days-long exercise will subsequently see the participation of 350 soldiers of the Indian Army.