(NSI News Source Info) October 19, 2008: After the Royal Marines, the US marines will also be holding a joint military exercise with the Indian Army in Ladakh. US Army Chief General George Casey along with his Indian counterpart Deepak Kapoor visited Ladakh and its adjoining areas to select the location where the Indo-US military exercises would be held."Dates for these joint exercises could be decided only after the US Army chief will get satisfied with the venues for these exercises," Defence spokesman, Lt Col Anil Mathur told reporters.The visiting US General Casey was briefed about different venues and glacial peaks in Ladakh by the senior formation commanders of the Army. Mathur said the aim behind the joint exercise would be to impart warfare techniques to each other especially in handling mountain warfare. "The joint exercise would be small and could take place at the company level," he said.The mountainous region of Ladakh assumes significance for the joint exercise as its terrain resembles that of the mountainous regions of Afghanistan, where the US marines are fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda militants as part of the NATO peace force. Sources said the aim behind the exercise is to learn from the military experiences of Indian troops, who have been dealing with insurgency for the past two decades.Earlier in 2006, Indian and US Special Forces held mountain warfare exercises in the same region close to the China border. Pakistan, already had expressed annoyance over the visit of US Army chief to the Siachen glacier. However, it is not clear whether General Casey visited Siachen or not. The defence spokesman denied General Casey’s visit to Siachen. "He (Casey) only visited Ladakh, not Siachen," said Mathur.Last year, the UK marines were in Ladakh to participate in a similar joint exercise. The exercises were held for three weeks in September.
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