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India-US to hold high-altitude military exercise near LAC amid rising tensions with China

The joint exercise is being planned from 14 to 31 October, during which Indian and American troops will carry out 'maneuvers to exploit the full scope' of high-altitude warfare.

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New Delhi: Amid rising tensions with China, India and US will come together for two weeks of high-altitude military exercise in Uttarakhand’s Auli, less than 100 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Central Sector, ThePrint has learnt.

The Indo-US joint exercise is known as ‘Yudh Abhyas’ and it will be the 15th edition this year.

Sources in the defence and security establishment said the joint exercise is being planned from 14 to 31 October where the two forces will carry out “maneuvers to exploit the full scope” of high-altitude warfare. Sources also said the location (at 10,000 feet) where the exercise will take place falls in Stage 1 of acclimatization for high altitude.

“This time it is a very important exercise because the Indian side will be showcasing their high-altitude warfare strategies, while the Americans will be showcasing a number of technologies that can be used in such scenarios. This exercise has been planned in such a way that both sides come together for any scenario,” a source said.

Another source said that various activities have been planned for both sides to fully exploit the two weeks of focused high altitude military exercise and to see how the troops can operate together.

Sources further said this edition of the exercise will see a greater integration of air and ground assets, meaning the Indian Air Force will also play a key role.

India-US tensions with China

India and China have witnessed rising tensions at the LAC over the last two years following the stand-off in Ladakh. Meanwhile, tensions have also risen between the US and China over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan stop Tuesday.

Noting that the Chinese military’s infrastructure build-up under its Western Theatre Command — that looks after India — was “eye-opening and alarming”, US Army Pacific Commanding General Charles Flynn had in June said that the Indian and American Army will train together this year at 9,000-10,000 feet to increase interoperability for high-altitude warfare.

Interacting with a select group of journalists, Flynn also said Chinese build up along the LAC and construction of villages in Bhutan was “eye-opening”.

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