Numerous recent events have signalled a dramatic shift in the policy of our central government when it comes to dealing with our neighbours. A number of these events have to do with India”™s sudden rise in military activity near the Chinese border. The intention & motive of the government behind these historic moves can be summed up in one line ““ deal with China & Pakistan will automatically fall in place.
For the first time 100 T-72 main battle tanks were deployed in the Leh Ladakh region. The last time tanks reached anywhere near the Indo-Chinese border was in the 1962 war when a mere 5 tanks were airdropped.
After this the government placed IAF”™s frontline jets Sukhoi-30 MKI at an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) some 100 km from the Chinese border. Plans are to create 3 more such ALG”™s along the Indo-China border.
Then came the most fascinating & talked-about move of all ““ the decision to deploy the BrahMos missile on the Arunachal Pradesh border. The Chinese army raised objections & warned India against doing this, to which our Army”™s reply was ““ ‘it”™s none of your business.”™
Also just three months ago the Indian Navy had sailed through the South China Sea in an affirmation of freedom of navigation in international waters. Also in June this year, a trilateral joint exercise called Malabar involving Indian, US & Japanese navies was conducted with the aim of sending a message to China that they wouldn”™t allow any one nation to have control of the South China Sea. And now the news of a joint exercise between Indian & US armies near the Chinese border.
This two week-long joint exercise called Yudh Abhyas will begin from the 14th of September. Even though this is the 12th edition of Yudh Abhyas, this is the first time the exercise will take place just a 100 km from the Indo-China border.
A total 225 American soldiers from the 5th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade & 7th Infantry Division will take part in the exercise, while an equal number of soldiers from the Indian Army ““ 14th Battalion of the Garhwal Rifles & 12th Battalion of the Madras Regiment ““ will be involved.
An official from the US embassy said, “Yudh Abhyas will be an excellent opportunity for the US & Indian forces to share tactics, techniques, procedures & operational experiences. Yudh Abhyas is also an opportunity to broaden US-India military cooperation & enhance interoperability. The US side sincerely appreciates the excellent hospitality & amazing logistics support provided by the Indian Army in the lead up to the exercise.”
The exercise will be conducted in the heavily forested area of Chaubuttia in Uttarakhand where the heights range from 6,000 feet to 8,000 feet. Even though the exercise is extremely close to the Indo-China border, authoritative sources said, “There is no question of China being the focus, it is only because of geographical features & logistics that the region around Ranikhet was chosen for this long-planned exercise. It is the policy of both the US & India to seek to have a friendly & cooperative relationship with a major trading partner, China.”
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