Ranikhet, Oct 22 (ANI): In order to further strengthen defence cooperation and carry forward the bilateral ties between the two nations, troops of the Indian and the French Army participated in a joint exercise called Shakti-2011 in the mountainous region here similar to the conditions in the areas of Afghanistan.
The culmination of this joint military exercise marked the end of the rigorous training between the two forces, which developed a remarkable mutual understanding and inter-operability among them.
The exercise witnessed participation of troops from French Army's 13 Mountain Battalion under their 27 Mountain Infantry Brigade and Indian Army's 2 Bihar Regiment from the 99 Mountain Brigade, which is part of the 6 Mountain Division located in Uttarakhand.
Indian Army's Six Mountain Division Commander, Major General Rajesh Arya, appreciating the troops of both the sides for their participation said they have developed a remarkable mutual understanding and inter-operability that will further strengthen relations between the two great armies.
"The focus of the exercise is to develop jointness and to learn from each other as to effectively fight the major challenges faced not only by India and France, but by the entire world. France is a vital strategic partner and between these two democracies has been on a steady rise. Defence cooperation is the key aspect of our bilateral partnership and exercise Shakt-11 aimed at further strengthening this relationship," said Major General Arya.
"The enormous threat of terrorism adversely affects growth and development of both countries and both countries mutually agreed to the need for fighting effectively against this menace, which imperils the peace and stability of the world. This pioneering exercise conducted in the climate of Ranikhet provided an ideal opportunity to the contingents of the two counties to rehearse various counter-insurgency and counter terrorism operations in the mountainous terrain. During the course of training in last two weeks, beside honing their counter-terrorism skills and sharing the experience on the counter-insurgency and counter terrorism operations, the troops developed a remarkable mutual understanding and inter-operability that will further strengthen relations between our two great armies," he added.
When asked what new did the Indian Army personnel learn from their French counterparts, Major General Arya said: "Yes, the contingent commanders and the troops would have learned lot of new techniques. I witnessed today the use of mountain para-gliders to establish stops in the mountainous terrain in a short time, if it had been in the ground incursion it would have taken a long time, but para-gliding was a new technique, which cuts time to move troops from one place to another place. I am sure that in the course of two weeks, the Indian Army must have learnt a lot of good techniques from the French Army."
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Herve Wattecamps, Commander of 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade, also echoed similar sentiments as the Indian official and said: "Para-gliding is a new technique and for all commando, we practice it since ten years. The paragliders particularly come in handy for stealthily inserting troops in enemy territory in good weather conditions, but not during bad weather. The latest in this technique is the use of paramotors to land troops in all-weather condition."
"We have come to know that the India Army soldier is very tough. We also shared our experiences in Afghanistan," he added.
It may be recalled that infantry units of the Indian and Russian Armies had participated in a joint military exercise named Ex INDRA-10 in the Kumaon hills last year. By Amit Shankar (ANI)