Inside the Gates: US, Indian armies train together in Alaska

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 9:13 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Roughly 350 soldiers from India are in Alaska, but they are not just here for a vacation.

The Indian soldiers from the 7th Battalion, Madras Regiment, are learning from the U.S. Army in Alaska how to better defend their country.

Soldiers from both nations are taking part in the 17th iteration of the exercise between Indian and American forces referred to as “Yudh Abhyas.” In this two-week exercise, soldiers test their skills in extreme cold weather and high altitude environments.

“I’ll tell you, they are more experienced than we are in the mountainous terrain and we’re going to learn a great deal from them,” said Col. Michael “Jody” Shouse, commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. “So I think working together is going to pay big dividends.”

The Indian soldiers believe their American counterparts have plenty to offer them.

“Since both of us have some very ... experiences in high altitude and cold climate areas, we’d like to learn from each other,” said Brig. Parag Nangare.

Most of the training will take place at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The Northern Warfare Training Center and the Black Rapids Training Site near Delta Junction will also host different exercises.

The training exercise aims to improve the combined interoperability of the armies in India and Alaska “to increase partner capacity for conventional, complex and future contingencies throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” according to a press release from the Alaska Army.

The soldiers will test their skills in “surviving, operating, fighting and winning in extreme cold weather and high altitude environments,” according to the press release.

“It’s a wonderful place to be in,” Nangare said. “Suddenly I think we’ve got the snow around with us, along with us from India.”

The joint exercise ends Oct. 29. Army Alaska announced earlier this year that soldiers stationed in Alaska will travel to train in India in 2022. No date has been announced when that will happen.

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