Formation of people in military uniforms standing by wall with Yudh Abhyas banner (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Joseph Tolliver)
The U.S. and Indian armies began the 14-day Yudh Abhyas military exercise February 8 in India. (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Joe Tolliver)

From February 8 to 21, soldiers from the world’s two largest democracies, the United States and India, trained together for missions ranging from counterterrorism operations to humanitarian aid. The Yudh Abhyas exercise in Rajasthan, India, reflected the two nations’ commitment to deepen their strategic partnership.

In a February 21 closing ceremony, Indian Army Major General Michael AJ Fernandez called the 16th annual Yudh Abhyas exercise “a step further in the continuing journey of close friendship between our two great nations and world-class armies.”

People in Indian and U.S. military uniforms wrapping bandages around arms (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Joseph Tolliver)
U.S. and Indian soldiers train in lifesaving medical techniques during Yudh Abhyas February 13 in Rajasthan, India. (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Joe Tolliver)

Roughly 250 soldiers from each nation participated. They trained on military equipment and conducted battle drills. Medics practiced emergency evacuation, treatment and other lifesaving techniques.

In a sign of deepening cultural ties, soldiers practiced yoga and played sports together. U.S. soldiers also joined their Indian counterparts in celebrating Basant Panchami, a festival commemorating the arrival of spring.

“We came here seeking opportunities for interoperability, to train and to learn from the Indian Army,” U.S. Army Major General Xavier T. Brunson said. “I think we achieved that.”

Two people in military uniforms holding a Yudh Abhyas plaque between them (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Joseph Tolliver)
Commanders from the U.S. and Indian armies commemorate the annual Yudh Abhyas exercise, a military training and cultural exchange, in India. (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Joe Tolliver)

Yudh Abhyas is one of many collaborations that advance Indo-American ties.

From February 3 to 5, the United States participated in Aero India 2021, a defense exhibition and air show in Bengaluru, India, that supports security partnerships that create jobs in both countries. A B-1 bomber crew from South Dakota participated in the exhibition flyover alongside an Indian fighter aircraft.

In November 2020, India hosted the Malabar naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. There, India, the United States, Australia and Japan trained to keep the region’s maritime spaces safe for free and open navigation.