INDO-US JOINT EXERCISES: AN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE

The statements below are from US personnel who took part in joint training with Indian Forces. Indian Armed Forces remain well trained and motivated, despite the many challenges they face in terms of equipment profile, modernisation, shortages and voids in weapon holdings —Editor.

Ex Yudh Abayas

“The U.S. Soldiers learned counterinsurgency and jungle warfare operations in northeast India. A primary purpose of 05- 01’s bilateral training was to have the Indian Army present the Guam and Hawaii Soldiers with skills needed to defeat insurgents. The Indian Army, given their experience of over ten years in fighting an insurgency, was able to offer the U.S. Army many invaluable lessons learned on counterinsurgency and jungle warfare.”

—Dave Hilkert, Army correspondent covering Yudh Abhyas

“We have different tactics: theirs are shaped by their experiences in Jammu and Kashmir and ours by our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the field training we are seeing a lot of detailed work from them, which is something we are rebuilding at our team level. The Gurkhas are a phenomenal unit. The Indian Army officers are incredible officers that any army in the world would be proud to have.”

—U.S. Army Lt. Col. Phillip Sounia

“They were less intrusive in searching people’s homes and cars, a tactic that could help when troops are trying to earn the trust of the local population. They’ve just gained huge intelligence value from that — instead of killing them, they’ve captured them. All our guys said whoa — we’d never do that. We could do it. The way Indians ambushed and disarmed two insurgents impressed me. American troops, in the same drill, simply shot and killed the men”

—Lt. Col. Matt Kelley, Maj. Bob Risdon: US Army 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment on the search and room clearance procedures of the Indian Army.

“It’s good to see how they operate because we’ve learned a lot from them ─ tactics that we’ve never thought of.” —Spc. Ross Berger, cavalry scout with Bravo Troop, 1-40th CAV

“I was surprised how exceptionally well we all worked together and meshed. We understand each other really well. Both armies have similar doctrine, which made the combining operations a lot smoother. Tactically, they are really sound. We just gave them a little bit of instruction on the equipment, which is, of course, necessary when using something unfamiliar. I went into this not hoping to gain anything. I wasn’t aware of how they operated, but when we started having classes and working together it really changed my perspective.”

—Sgt. Steve Faulkner, Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment

Ex Cope India: A series of USAF and IAF Joint Exercises

“The outcome of the exercise boils down to (the fact that) they (IAF) ran tactics that were more advanced than we expected… They could come up with a game plan, but if it wasn’t working they would call an audible and change (tactics in flight).”

—Col. Mike Snodgrass, CO, USAF 3rd Wing, Elmendorf Air Force Base on IAF defeating the USAF with a 9:1 kill ratio

“What we’ve seen in the last two weeks is the IAF can stand toe-to-toe with the best air force in the world. I pity the pilot who has to face the IAF and chances the day to underestimate him; because he won’t be going home.”

—Colonel Greg Newbech, USAF

“Indian Air Force flying the MiG-21 ‘Bison’ gave USAF F-15 drivers a very bad day. “Low-tech” aircraft fitted with the right equipment, and properly trained crews – should never be underestimated. It appears the IAF knows exactly what they are doing.”

—USAF debrief on Ex Cope India

An annual multilateral naval exercise between US, Japan, Indian, Australian navies. “These exercises are so important because we all share responsibility for freedom of navigation and freedom of the seas. It highlights the need for more interoperability to enhance the security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region.”

—Rear Adm. Terry Kraft, on the USS George Washington

Ex Malabar

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