Alaska: 4th Rajput Battalion, Indian Army, is participating with Indian National Small Arms System (INSAS) rifle in Exercise Yudh Abhyas 07-01, which is in progress at Donnelly Training Area, Alaska. AK-47, Dragunov SVD59 sniper rifle and MAG 58 machine gun are the other weapons used by Indian Army team.
Alaska Post reports that Indian soldiers experienced high winds, mountain views and colorful foliage as they conducted training on a range Sept. 12 as part of Exercise Yudh Abhyas.
Soldiers from Arjun Company, 4th Rajput Battalion, Indian Army, confirmed zeros with their weapons on the known-distance range.
“Our company is named Arjun,” said Maj. Akash Karwal, Arjun Co. commander, 4th Rajput, “It is named after a great warrior from mythological wartimes.”
Arjun, which was originally Arjuna, is one of the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Arjuna is a central figure in Hindu mythology whose name means “bright,” “shining,” or “silver.”
The soldiers confirmed their zeros at 100 meters with four types of weapons: the Indian National Small Arms System (INSAS) rifle, an AK-47, a Dragunov SVD59 sniper rifle and a MAG 58 machine gun.
The INSAS rifle, a semi-automatic weapon capable of three-round burst, is produced in India. The 8.14-pound weapon fires 5.56-mm rounds unlike the AK-47, which fires 7.62-mm. Both weapons have the ability to shoot single shots or three-round bursts, but the AK-47 can also fire in fully automatic mode.
“Both are very accurate for hitting targets,” said Capt. Upendre Tilotia, 13th platoon commander, Arjun Co., 4th Rajput.
Tilotia said the weapons ranges in India are similar to the ones in Alaska. He said he felt his soldiers were effective marksmen and he didn’t think it would take them long to confirm their zero.
Once the Indian soldiers completed the training, troops in B Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, went to the range and conducted the same training.
The Exercise Yudh Abhyas 07-01 involves practicing fighting insurgents in Iraq. KTuU TV reported on 21 September that many Iraqi nationals taking part in the combined international exercise of the U.S. Army Alaska and the Indian Army at the Donnelly Training Center.
The Iraqi nationals are a part of the authentic Iraqi settings meant for the training.
Lt. General John M. Brown III, the commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, said it wasn’t long ago when the United States and India did not work together.
“Both of our nations are involved in counterinsurgency operations. Indian soldiers and U.S. Army soldiers are in combat environments against insurgents and this is exactly the kind of training that both of our military need,” Brown said.
It was just five years ago when Indian paratroopers came over to train with paratroopers at Fort Richardson.
“That was really the beginning of the re-engagement for the U.S. Army and the Indian Army together and in five years we’ve come a long way,” Brown said.
The exercises contain many common Iraqi scenario, like a road side bomb detonating.
Major Akash Karwal with the Indian Army said the real life training is invaluable to U.S. and Indian soldiers.
“The two countries get to know each others tactics, this menace of insurgency is in our country for the last sixty years. So we’ve been dealing with insurgency most of the years in our country. So coming here and doing training tactics with the American Army has been fruitful to us and hopefully fruitful to the American Army too,” Karwal said.
Sgt. Jason Lewton with the U.S. Army said they are sharing their newly gained knowledge with the Indian Army.
“I see them where our army was a little over seven years ago so we’re training them from the experiences we’ve gained and they can help us from a different perspective from their experiences,” Lewton said.
From conquering the language barriers and learning how to react in the most tense war time situations, to continuing to improve the relationship between India and the U.S. and Iraq, the lessons from this exercise benefit everyone involved.
Soldiers from U.S. Army Alaska will be heading to India in a few months for similar training in India.