Jaipur, Feb 3:The 16th edition of Indo-US joint military exercise 'Yudh Abhyas' will be held in Rajasthan between February 8 and 21, a Defence spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The exercise near the India-Pakistan border aims at enhancing cooperation and interoperability between the two armies and will focus on counter-terrorism operations under the United Nations mandate, the spokesperson said.

The drill comes days after the air forces of India and France held a five-day joint exercise in Rajasthan in January.

Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Amitabh Sharma said, "As part of military-to-military exchange programmes, US Army troops will be arriving in India on February 5 for the 16th edition of Exercise 'Yudh Abhyas' with Indian Army troops.

He said the bilateral training exercise will be conducted at the Foreign Training Node at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges.

He said the 11th Battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, part of the South Western Command will represent Indian Army in the exercise while the US Army delegation will be represented by the troops of 2nd battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team along with respective brigade headquarters.

"Exercise with US Army is significant in terms of security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of global terrorism. The joint military exercise will enhance the level of defence cooperation between both armies which will also foster the bilateral relations between both nations and reiterate India's key role as a key partner in the Indo-Pacific region," he said in a release.

The exercise is being held in India also assumes significance in the backdrop of recent developments on northern borders, and conveys the strategic posture of the two nations as well as enhanced upward trajectory in Indo-US relations, he said.

"The exercise is being conducted despite the COVID-19 pandemic which indicates the strength of bilateral relations and conveys a geo-strategic message to the environment," the release said. - PTI