Two soldiers of the Indian Army have gone "missing" in the United States shortly after the completion of a joint India-US counter-terrorism exercise codenamed Shatrujeet. The 10-day company level exercise got over on March 20 at Camp Pendleton in California, a US Marine base.
The army is treating the two soldiers, from the First Gorkha regiment, as absent without leave. They have not yet been declared deserters. An official said, "As per army rules, they will remain AWOL for 30 days then they would be declared deserters."
Their official documents including passports are with the commanding officer. The two have put in four and seven years of service.
The army has ordered a court of inquiry. Officials said the Indian embassy and US authorities were jointly conducting further search to locate them. If they are apprehended and the CoI proves they had no intention to return they will be dismissed from service.