Yudh Abhyas 22 kicked off its 20th year, held for the first time in the Himalayan mountains, with participants from both the 9th Assam Regiment, Indian Army, and Denali Squadron – 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, under the command of 2nd Brigade, 11th Airborne Division of the US Army, standing in formation at the opening ceremony. Both Colonel Jody Shouse, Commander of 2nd Brigade, 11th Airborne Division, and Brigadier Pankaj Verma, Commander of the 9th Assam Regiment, presented remarks. Held at 9200’ in clear view of Nanda Devi, the second-highest peak of the tallest mountain range in the world, the bilateral ceremony involved approximately 350 U.S. Army and 350 Indian Army soldiers.
“The Denali Paratroopers, joining the 9th Battalion, are aptly named for their focus on reconnaissance and mountaineering across the Arctic and Alaska’s formidable terrain – although the Himalayas will certainly be a new test. The next two weeks will bring tough, realistic training. We will focus on a joint Command Post Exercise while the CAV and the 9th Battalion hone their advanced combat skills through interoperability training and field training exercises,” said Colonel Jody Shouse, Commander of 2nd Brigade, 11th Airborne Division.
“Exercise Yudh Abhyas 22 is not an event; instead, it is a graduated learning process. “As we progress with the joint training, the graduated training curriculum will expose all of us to that,” said Brigadier Pankaj Verma, Commander of the 9th Assam Regiment said.
As part of a humanitarian aid scenario, both contingents will exchange tactics, techniques and procedures on operating in a high-altitude environment, building both forces’ expertise as Yudh Abhyas proceeds toward the validation phase and culmination. Denali Squadron and the 9th Assam Brigade are both familiar with operations in extreme high altitude environments, with the CAV squadron sending mountaineers on the annual expedition to summit Denali, North America’s highest peak – although a full battalion-scale exercise at 9200’ presents many new opportunities for knowledge exchange.