Indo-French military exercise 'Shakti-2016' begins in Rajasthan today

Indian and French troops will on Friday begin their eight-day counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency joint exercise in Rajasthan.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 08, 2016, 08:47 AM IST

New Delhi: Indian and French troops will on Friday begin their eight-day counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency joint exercise in Rajasthan.

The French contingent comprising 56 personnel of 35th Infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade, which had taken part in the Afghan war, had arrived in Jodhpur on Wednesday to take part in 'Shakti-2016'.

A French Army contingent, led by Major Thibaut De Lacoste Lareymondie arrived on Thursday at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges.

The exercise is an important step for the armies to train together and gain from each other's rich operational experience, a statement by the Indian Army said.

Both countries have troops deployed in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations and therefore sharing each other's military experiences will pay meaningful dividends, it said.

The 2nd Battalion of Garhwal Rifles, part of the Sapta Shakti Command has been nominated for this exercise.

The unit has been put through a strenuous training schedule to prepare for the exercise, which includes firing, combat conditioning, tactical operations, heli-borne operations among others.

The illustrious selected battalion has varied experience in counter-insurgency/counter-terrorist operations.

The unit was bestowed with the prestigious Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Citation and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command Unit Citation for maintaining law and order, keeping terrorism under check and maintaining sanctity of the border in the northern theatre.

The 35th Infantry Regiment's origin dates back to its raising in 1604 at Lorraine (France). The regiment has as many as 12 battle honours to its credit. The battalion has varied combat experiences, having served in Algeria, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan, amongst other places.

The joint exercise will undergo a training schedule aimed at combating conditioning, infantry tactical operations in a counter-terrorism environment and planning of joint operations under the United Nations mandate.

This exercise will culminate in a tactical exercise encompassing clearing of pockets of terrorists in rural and urban environment.