US-India joint military exercises end today

The sixteenth ‘Yudh Abhyas’ joint US-India military exercise is scheduled to end today. The annual exercises, which began in 2004,

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Photo: Joseph Tolliver

The sixteenth ‘Yudh Abhyas’ joint US-India military exercise is scheduled to end today.

The annual exercises, which began in 2004, were envisioned as a way to enhance bilateral and multilateral joint operations in support of US Pacific Command’s theatre campaign plans. The two-week-long Yudh Abhyas is composed of battalions from the Indian Army and a US Army delegation. The goal is to develop counter-terrorism capabilities under a hypothetical UN multilateral response to regional terrorist activities.

Faced with escalating border crises with China, India is actively building international military relations while drawing closer to the US. The recent exercises, located near the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan state, are a clear geostrategic signal to China of India’s growing unilateral and multilateral military capabilities in the region. India’s messaging places special emphasis on its growing strategic relationship with the US and its allies.

With China-India relations at a historic low, India’s continued participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises is likely to further inflame tensions. China may seek recourse through testing these partnerships. Expect China to increase the frequency of naval exercises in the South China Sea and near the Indian Ocean.

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