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India-France joint military exercise 'Shakti' commences in Meghalaya

India and France millitary personnel during the 7th Edition of Joint Military Exercise 'Shakti' between India and France, in Umroi of Ri Bhoi district, Meghalaya. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): The seventh edition of the 'Exercise Shakti' between India and France began in Meghalaya on Monday with an aim to enhance joint military capability of both sides to undertake multi-domain operations in a sub-conventional scenario, the defence ministry said.

The joint military exercise also seeks to enhance the level of defence cooperation between the two friendly nations and boost their bilateral ties.

Exercise Shakti, being held from May 13-26, will enable the two sides to share their best practices in tactics, techniques and procedures of conducting joint operations, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Tactical drills to be practiced during the exercise will include response to a terrorist action of capturing a defined territory, setting up of a joint command post, establishment of an intelligence and surveillance centre, securing a helipad or landing site, small team insertion and extraction, special heliborne operations, cordon and search operations besides employment of drones and counter-drone systems among others, it said.

Exercise Shakti is a biennial training event conducted alternatively in India and France. The last edition was conducted in France in November 2021.

The seventh edition of the exercise commenced on Monday at Umroi, in a fully developed and modern foreign training node in Meghalaya.

"The joint exercise will facilitate developing inter-operability, bonhomie and camaraderie between armed forces personnel of the two countries. This will also enhance the level of defence cooperation, further fostering bilateral relations between the two friendly nations," the statement said.

The opening ceremony of the joint exercise was attended by Thierry Mathou, Ambassador of France to India and Major General Prasanna Sudhakar Joshi, General Officer Commanding 51 Sub Area, the ministry said.

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 are also a part of the exercise, the statement said.

"The French contingent comprising 90 personnel will be represented mainly by personnel from the 13th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade (13th DBLE)," it said.

The aim of Exercise Shakti is to enhance joint military capability of both sides to undertake multi-domain operations in a sub-conventional scenario under Chapter VII of the United Nations Mandate, the statement said.

The joint exercise will focus on operations in the semi-urban and mountainous terrain. The objectives to be achieved from the joint training are "high degree" of physical fitness, rehearsing and refining drills for operations at tactical level and sharing of best practices, it added.

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