India, France Begin Counterterrorism Exercise Shakti 2019

Jaipur: Shakti 2019, a 14-day joint military exercise involving India and France, started on Friday at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Bikaner.

Soldiers of the Sikh Regiment, part of Sapt Shakti Command, and the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment, part of 6th Armoured Brigade of the French Army, commenced the exercise with an opening ceremony which was held at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges.

The joint exercise will facilitate both armies to know each other better, share their operational experience and enhance awareness through information exchange. This will help them in undertaking joint operations at platoon level for countering terrorist threats under the mandate of the United Nations.

Speaking on the occasion, Brigadier P.S. Cheema said: “The shared commitment to democracy, pluralism and multilateralism is another important dimension of bilateral relationship and global responsibilities between India and France.”

“We share perspectives about countering terrorism with a firm conviction and our great armies have proved their mettle in the past. We have a lot to learn from each other especially in our approach towards handling the modern-day challenges posed by global terrorism,” he added.

French Defence Attache in India Col. Ludovic Dumount said: “Our armies have gained a wealth of knowledge on how to fight in counter terrorist environment all across the world. We have many lessons to share with each other and coming together today gives us this opportunity.”

The ceremony saw the unfurling of the national flags of both countries amidst playing of their respective national anthems. The ceremony also witnessed synchronised marching of troops to martial tunes.

This was followed by evocative speeches by the Reviewing Officers of both countries.