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US, Indian Army soldiers celebrate Basant Panchami in Rajasthan

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JAIPUR: Amid the 16th edition of the Indo-US joint military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas‘, at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges (MFFR) at Bikaner in Rajasthan), there was a colourful celebration of Basant Panchami where the US Army soldiers along with their Indian counterparts danced to the tunes of mesmerising music while wearing colourful Indian attire to foot-tapping Punjabi songs.

Kite flying, camel rides were other interesting parts of the festive celebration on Tuesday as part of the joint military exercise underway from February 8-21.

The US Army’s 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team posted a dance video on their social media handle and also shared a post extending warm wishes.

“Thanks to our gracious hosts from the #IndianArmy @adgpi, 11th Battalion Jammu And Kashmir Rifles, for inviting us to this beautiful celebration during #YudhAbhyas,” said a tweet posted by 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team on their official handle @1SBCT_Ghost.

They also extended warm wishes on Basant Panchami in another tweet and said, “Happy Basant Panchami to our Indian friends & partners! We are grateful to be with you in India for Exercise #YudhAbhyas & happy to celebrate this day together. Warm wishes for a happy & healthy spring!”
The India-US joint training exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ commenced at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges on February 8.

The exercises include sand model discussions, planning of operations and equipment familiarisation. This time, a white female tracker dog named ‘Simmi’ and a black male dog called ‘Pulli’ are also part of training who have been provided for Road Opening drills (ROP) which is being carried out by a mixed group, said Lt Col Amitabh Sharma, Defence PRO, Rajasthan.

The other training activities of the Indian and US troops include night marches, navigation and endurance training which are being followed with all Covid-safety protocols, said Lt Col Sharma.

“Together we train, together we fight, together the world sees our might,” he said of the slogan.

On February 6 , the US Army contingent, comprising a Brigade Headquarters and a Battalion group of 2nd Battalion of 3rd Infantry Regiment of 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team comprising of 270 personnel landed at Suratgarh. The 14-day schedule is focused on joint training on counter insurgency environment under United Nations mandate, Indian Army officials said.

A number of aerial platforms including newly-inducted indigenous Advance Light Helicopter WSI RUDRA, MI-17, Chinooks, Stryker vehicles of the US Army and BMP-II Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicles of the Indian Army are being utilised in the exercise. The exercise will enrich both the contingents on each others’ experience in counter insurgency operations.

Besides counter insurgency operations, exchange of experiences in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief will also be a part of the exercise, officials said.

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