Have you heard of Yudh Abhyas? For those of you who haven’t, it’s a joint training exercise between the U.S. military and the Indian military. This year, for the first time in the history of Yudh Abhyas, the training exercise is being conducted in the Himalayan Mountain range. Keep reading to learn more about it as well as why the U.S. Army and the Indian army are in the Himalayas.
The History of Yudh Abhyas
Yudh Abhyas began in 2004. It’s a bilateral training exercise designed to help the Indian and U.S. militaries exchange knowledge and “keep the peace” between the two countries. It’s an opportunity for Soldiers to make connections, share cultures, learn new skills, and more. The Yudh Abhyas has helped significantly strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and the Indian military in the past and will continue to do so.
In full view of Nanda Devi, the second-tallest mountain in the tallest mountain range in the world, Capt. Cerruti, Lt. Russell, Lt. Brown and Lt. Hack became the first four @USArmy Officers to be promoted in the Himalayas during Yudh Abhyas Exercise.@USArmy .@USARPAC_CG pic.twitter.com/2ICcBcj7Ju
— U.S. Army Pacific (@USARPAC) November 27, 2022
Yudh Abhyas 2022
This is the first year that Yudh Abhyas has been conducted in the Himalayas. This year, Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 11th Airborne Division are teaming up with the Indian Army’s 9th Assam Regiment. This U.S. Squadron is located on a joint Alaskan base. They are known for their training in cold mountainous terrain, so training 9,200 feet above sea level in the Himalayas is not totally crazy for them. This year’s Soldiers, both Indian and American, are called the “Denali Paratroopers” due to their training in reconnaissance and mountaineering across tough terrains.
When Did Yudh Abhyas 2022 Begin?
The Yudh Abhyas began on November 19, 2022, and is meant to last two weeks. A celebration was held to commemorate the beginning of this year’s Yudh Abhyas. It was held near the Nanda Devi, which is the second-highest peak in the range, rising to 25,646 feet.
For all the CIA history buffs out there, you might recognize the name “Nanda Devi.” From 1965-1968, the CIA repeatedly tried placing a listening device on the summit of the mountain. The device was meant to intercept missile communications from Xinjiang Province in China, but the project failed multiple times. In 1983, India declared this peak, as well as its surrounding peaks, off-limits to everyone due to the religious significance and fragile ecosystem of Nanda Devi.
The Mountain Warfare of the Himalayas
The Himalayas have been a highly disputed area for the Indian and Chinese armies. This “Himalayan military fight” has been going on for a while, but just in 2020, there were a lot of pretty deadly fights between India and China.
The fights are usually over borders, with areas in the Himalayas being the borders they’re fighting over. As of recently, the area of Gogra-Hot Springs has been the source of the fighting. With the U.S. military joining India in the Himalayas, could the U.S. be helping India keep their claims to their borders?
Why the Himalayas?
For many people, the Himalayas are known as the homeland of Mount Everest. But this year, it means a lot more for India and America. It’s no secret that U.S. and China tensions have increased in recent years, and India-China tensions have also been on the rise since 2020.
It’s been rumored that the Himalayan location for the Yudh Abhyas 2022 is because of the tensions with China, though no military leaders from India or the U.S. have come forward explicitly saying this.
The Yudh Abhyas this year is definitely one for the books in both India and America. It’s the first time American Soldiers have gone to the Himalayas for this exercise, and the rumors swirling around the location choice are endless. With the tensions rising between the U.S. and China, could war with China be on the horizon?