Indo-French joint military training exercise SHAKTI 2011
at Chaubatia from October 9-2 was held under the Indian Army's Garud Division. The French Army had four officers and 50 troops of the 13 Mountain Infantry Battalion while an equal number of Indian officers and troops participating from 2 Bihar under the aegis of the 99 Mountain Brigade.
Exercise Shakti–11 the first ever Indo-French exercise between the two nations which aimed not only at training troops in counter-terrorist operations but also in enhancing defence cooperation and military relations between the two nations. It has provided an ideal platform for the personnel of the two countries to share their experiences on counter terrorist operations; especially in mountainous terrain. The exercise was conducted in the areas adjoining the salubrious town of Ranikhet which provided an excellent opportunity for the contingents of the two countries to practice and rehearse drills and procedures related to operations in this rugged terrain.
The activities conducted during training includes familiarization with weapons & equipment being used by both the countries, introduction to the organization, concept and basic tactics at infantry company and platoon level and modalities of conducting complex operations like Area Domination Patrols, Cordon and Search operations and Search and Destroy Operations in counter insurgency environment. Personnel from the French contingent also got a chance to fire infantry weapons being used by the Indian Army during day as well as night.
The training culminated in a 48 hours Consolidation Exercise in which troops of both nations carried out a daring Search and Destroy Operation in the general area of Pilkholi village on the outskirts of Ranikhet. The troops had reached the area of operations after a grueling march throughout the night of 20th Oct 11 and thereafter carried out a precise, well coordinated and executed operation to neutralize the terrorists hiding in the dense forests of Pilkholi. The search and destroy mission included clearing and destruction of a terrorist hideout, employment of the Quick Reaction Teams to neutralize escaping terrorists and carrying out a thorough search of the dense forest. The highlight of the event was an audacious and surgical Raid by heliborne commandoes of both armies on a simulated target. The commandoes of the French Army also employed their Paragliding skills and laid effective stops by employing three paragliding commandoes during the raid. The final phase of the exercise was reviewed by Brigadier General Herve Wattecamps and Colonel Bertrand Lavaux as representatives of France and Major General Rajesh Arya, Vishishtha Seva Medal, General Officer Commanding, 6 Mountain Division and Brigadier A K Yadav, Commander, 99 Mountain Brigade representing India.
The General Officer Commanding during the interaction with the press, said ‘During the course of training, besides honing their counter terrorism skills and sharing their experiences on the Counter Insurgency/ Counter Terrorist operations, the troops developed a remarkable mutual understanding and inter-operability that will further strengthen relations between our two great armies.’ The General Officer declared the exercise an ‘unprecedented success’.
Photos / DPR Defence