Indian, US troops celebrate ‘Basant Panchami’ in Rajasthan

Jaipur (IANS)¬†Amid the 16th edition of ‘Yudh Abhyas’, which is underway in Mahajan Field Firing Ranges (MFFR) in Rajasthan’s Bikaner, ‘Basant Panchami’ saw the Indian and the US army troops exercise to a different tune.

Joint military exercises between the two armies are underway since February 8 and will continue till February 21.

On Tuesday, a colourful celebration of Basant Panchami was held by the US army personnel along with their Indian counterparts. The US soldiers were seen dancing to mesmerising Punjabi music and wearing colourful Indian attire. Kite flying and camel rides were other interesting parts of the festive celebration.

In fact, the US Army’s 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team posted a beautiful dance video on their social media handle and also shared a post extending warm wishes for a happy and healthy spring.

“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 Twitter handle 1SBCT_Ghost.

They also extended warm wishes on ‘Basant Panchami’ in their other 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 ongoing India-US joint training Exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ includes planning of operations and equipment familiarisation.

This time, a white female tracker dog named Simmi and a black male dog called Pulli were also a part of the training. Both have been provided for Road Opening drills (ROP) which is being carried out by a mixed group, said Lt. Col Amitabh Sharma, PRO Defence, Rajasthan.

The other training activities of the Indo-US troops include night marches, navigation and endurance training which are being undertaken with all Covid safety protocols, said Lt. Col Sharma, adding, “Together we Train, Together we Fight, Together the World, Sees our Might.”

On February 6, the 270-strong US Army contingent, comprising a Brigade Headquarters and a Battalion group of 2nd Battalion, the 3rd Infantry Regiment of 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team landed at Suratgarh.

The 14-day schedule is focused upon joint training on counter insurgency environment under United Nations mandate, confirmed Army officials.

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.

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

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