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India, France to hold Exercise Shakti in Meghalaya to enhance joint military capability

Sources confirmed that the exercise is scheduled to be held at Umroi, Meghalaya, from May 13-26.

Screenshot 2024 05 10 090904NEW DELHI: The militaries of India and France are holding Exercise Shakti to enhance the joint military capability of both sides to undertake multi domain operations in a sub-conventional scenario.

Sources confirmed that the exercise is scheduled to be held at Umroi, Meghalaya, from May 13-26.

“The Indian contingent comprising 90 personnel is being represented primarily by a battalion of the Rajput Regiment besides personnel from other arms and services. Observers from the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force will also form part of the exercise. The French contingent comprising 90 personnel will be represented mainly by personnel from the 13th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade (13th DBLE),” said a source.

The exercise is aimed “to enhance joint military capability under Chapter VII of the United Nations Mandate” which is about action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression.

The exercise is expected to be attended by Thierry Mathou, Ambassador of France, along with Brigadier Mayur Shekatkar of the Indian Army and several other senior military and civilian dignitaries.

The joint exercise would focus on operations in the semi-urban and mountainous terrain. “Objectives to be achieved from the joint training are high degree of physical fitness, rehearsing and refining drills for operations at tactical level and mutual learning,” said the source.

The practice during the exercise will involve a scenario where terrorists capture a territory and the associated planning, reconnaissance, helicopter supported insertion and exercise of specialised small action teams. Drones will also be used.

This will be the seventh edition of the bilateral exercise which began in 2011 with the last edition conducted in France in November 2021.

The joint exercise will facilitate developing interoperability, bonhomie and camaraderie between armed forces personnel of both the countries. This will also enhance the level of defence cooperation, further fostering bilateral relations between the two friendly nations.

India-France relations have strengthened in recent years, completing 25 years of the strategic partnership last year. Both enjoy a wide-ranging bilateral defence relationship, including significant industrial cooperation. Maritime Rafale and Scorpene submarine deals are being negotiated.

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