The seventh edition of Yudh Abhyas is currently underway since 05 March 12 in two locations under the South Western Command. The US Army contingent is from the US Army Pacific (USARPAC), part of their Pacific Command (PACOM). The Command Post Exercise has an engineer brigade headquarters with its planners from both sides, while the Field Training Exercise comprises troops of 2nd Squadron 14th US Cavalry Regiment from 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii, along with a platoon of Strykers, and a similar sized Indian Army contingent of mechanized infantry. The event is all the more interesting as a number of key surveillance, communications and Improvised Explosive Devices detection and neutralisation technologies, available with both sides have been fielded in the exercise.
On 13 March 12, the two sides executed a joint cordon and search drill to neutralise suspected insurgents, in a specially constructed training area at the ranges in an abandoned village. The FTX, codenamed DESERT LARK, saw the Indian and US troops establish a cordon using their combat vehicles at night and then conduct dismounted searches by day to flush out insurgents as also use the third dimension (helicopters) as part of the drill.
The CPX (SARVADA SAVIOURS) at Bathinda focussed on the challenges faced by Sappers in the domain of countering threats of Improvised Explosive Devices, infrastructure development in strife torn regions and inaccessible areas and execution of rescue and relief operations during natural calamities or disasters. The exercise provided an excellent opportunity to both sides to understand functioning of Engineer Brigades with special emphasis on operations under United Nations mandate in troubled areas.
DESERT LARK and SARVADA SAVIOURS was witnessed by an Indian and US Army delegation, headed by Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan, GOC-in-C South Western Command and Lt Gen Francis “Frank” Wiercinski, commander of the US Army Pacific, as also the co-chair of the Executive Steering Group (ESG) for Indo-US army training events and exchanges. In addition, a number of senior members of the Indian Army also witnessed the drills and interacted with the troops participating in the exercise, both at Mahajan and Bathinda.