Soldiers from India's army are Jointly training at Fort Bragg
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Staff photos by Cindy Burnham
Above: The Coalition Color Guard 2nd Battalion and 5th Gurka Rifles and the 82nd Airborne Division 1st Brigade Combat Team gather on Fort Bragg's Pike Field for the kickoff ceremony for Yudh Abhyas.Below: Maj. Gen. John Nicholson Jr., 82nd Airborne Division commander, talks with Capt. Nimit Arya of the Indian Army.For a photo slide show, go to
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By Henry Cuningham
Military editor
The 82nd Airborne Division Band struck up "Carolina in the Morning " as a coalition color guard held the U.S. and Indian flags side by side Friday on Fort Bragg.
The ceremony on Pike Field marked the beginning of Yudh Abhyas 2013. About 200 soldiers from the Indian army will be on Fort Bragg for the U.S.-Indian exercise through May 17. The scenario calls for the two armies to work together under a United Nations mandate.
"The United States has the world's oldest democracy, and India, the largest," Brig. Jagdish Chaudhari said.
"We have a lot to learn from each other, especially in our approach to handling the modern-day challenges."
Chaudhari is commander of the Indian army's 99th Mountain Brigade.
The 82nd Airborne Division is participating for the first time in the ninth annual U.S.-Indian exercise. U.S. Army Pacific Command, which is based in Hawaii, sponsors the exercise.

The division's 1st Brigade Combat Team is working with the Indian army's 99th Mountain Brigade. Units represented on the parade field also included the 3rd Squadron of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment and, from India, the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Gurka Rifles, the 50th Independent Para Brigade and the 54th Engineers Regiment.

During the ceremony, Sgt. Balkrishna Dave, a U.S. soldier who was born and raised in India, read the narration in Hindi. He is assigned to the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Fort Bragg.
The Indian soldiers gave the British-style salute with the open palm forward as the national anthems were played.
"The relationship between the two nations is unique," said Chaudhari, the Indian brigadier. "Both constitutions commence with the same words: 'We the people.' That is the level of partnership that we share."
The U.S.-Indian exercise dates to 2004. Yudh Abhyas is Hindi for "training for war."
"This year is the largest ever conducted," said Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.
"This is a very important time for us to conduct an exercise of this nature," Nicholson said. "America is in the 11th year of its longest war. It is a war being conducted in south Asia.
"India recently signed a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan, which will help to ensure that the stability going forward will continue after we depart with our military presence," Nicholson said.
"India has invested heavily in the Afghan economy, building roads, educating Afghans in Indian universities, offering help across all dimensions of Afghan society. We appreciate your help to create a more stable environment in this critical region of the world, where many of these soldiers you see before you have fought so long and hard."
Some regiments of the Indian army have longer histories than the United States, Nicholson said.
The exercise is important as the United States and the U.S. Army increase their focus on the Pacific, Col. Trevor Bredenkamp said. He is commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team.
Yudh Abhyas is occurring for the first time at Fort Bragg and in the continental United States, Bredenkamp said.
Both armies will learn about each others' cultures, as well as weapons and tactics, Nicholson said. The staffs will plan together in field training exercises and command post exercises, he said.
Military editor Henry Cuningham can be reached at or 486-3585.