In the middle of October, US troops will join India for drills at an altitude of 10,000 feet in Auli in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. A senior Indian Army officer told reports the drills will focus on high-altitude warfare training.
Auli is about 95 kilometers from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where the disputed border between India and China is roughly demarcated.
Relations between India and China have been strained since a bloody clash between their soldiers in the Himalayas in June 2020.
China objected to India’s construction of a road in its claimed territory, which led to fighting breaking out.
India claimed that it lost 20 soldiers, while China reported four casualties.
The American and Indian drills will take place as part of the 18th edition of an annual joint exercise known as “Yudh Abhyas”, meaning “War Practice”.
Asked about the joint exercises, a US Department of Defense spokesperson told CNN the partnership with India was “one of the most important elements of our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region”.
The spokesperson said: “One important element of this broader effort includes exercises and training events and Yudh Abhyas is one such annual bilateral exercise designed to improve interoperability and improve our respective capacities to address a range of regional security challenges.”
Daniel Bochkov, an expert on Russia, Europe and China for the Russian Council, suggested on Twitter the US seeks to pressure China on major issues over the announced drills.
He said: “Seems like the US is aimed to increase pressure on China in every sensitive issue for Beijing not limited to Taiwan.”
It comes as China began live-fire drills in areas surrounding Taiwan after Nancy Pelosi, US speaker of the House of Representatives, visited the island.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway state and has not ruled out reuniting the island by force.
Since Thursday, after Ms Pelosi left Taiwan, China has fired missiles over the island.
China’s defence ministry said it had carried out military exercises as planned in the sea and airspaces to the north, south-west, and east of Taiwan, with a focus on “testing the capabilities” of its land strike and sea assault systems.
At 4am BST, A White House spokesperson said China is trying to “change the status quo” through its military drills around Taiwan.
They said: “These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo.
“They are provocative, irresponsible, and raise the risk of miscalculation.
“They are also at odds with our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which is what the world expects.”