Indo-French Joint Army Exercise “Shakti 2016” conducted

Concluded on 16th January, this exercise enhanced the mutual understanding and improved the interoperability of the two units.

Rajasthan, 16 January 2016

A contingent of 56 “gaillards” of the 35th Infantry Regiment (35th IR) of the 7th Armoured Brigade of the French Army reached Rajasthan on 6th January 2016 by military transport aircraft Airbus A400M Atlas. They arrived at the Mahajan Field Firing Range in Bikaner to participate in the Indo-French joint army exercise, “Shakti 2016”, with the 2nd Battalion of the Garhwal Rifles.

This is the third edition of this exercise, the first having been held in 2011 in the foothills of the Himalayas and the second in 2013 in the French Alps.

In the course of “Shakti”, the French and the Indian armies shared their respective experiences of combating terrorism in semi-urban conditions under the mandate of the United Nations.

Concluded on 16th January, this exercise enhanced the mutual understanding and improved the interoperability of the two units.

These exercises are an integral part of the defence dimension of the strategic partnership entered into by France and India in 1998. During the official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to France in April 2015, the French and Indian authorities commended the conduct of joint exercises between the army (Shakti), navy (Varuna) and the air force (Garuda). They reaffirmed their desire to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation through such exercises.

Note on the 35th Infantry Regiment

The 35th Infantry Regiment, founded in 1604, is one of the oldest active regiments of France. The regiment participated in most of the major royal campaigns until the French revolution in 1789, continuing thereafter in all the Napoleonic campaigns. It may be noted that it served for three years in the Indian Subcontinent. The 2nd Battalion arrived with the forces of the Admiral Bailiff of Suffren to participate in the capture of Cuddalore and Trincomalee in 1781, with the support of Haidar Ali’s soldiers, against the British forces.

During the interwar period (1918-1939), the regiment trained and remained battle-ready in the region of Belfort, participating in the “Levant campaign” in Syria and Lebanon. Swept up in the upheaval of 1940 by the German Nazis, it was reborn four years later from the Resistance movements of Bourgogne and Yonne.

The regiment is today composed of 1200 troops, divided into 9 companies, at the cutting edge of technology: it has mastered the Infantry Combat warfare with the integrated equipment and liaison (“FELIN” system), is transported on the modern infantry vehicle (“VBCI”), and is operationally commanded through fully digitized battlefield systems. The modern infantryman’s mastery of know-how has been used to the utmost in all recent theatres of operations, whether they are homeland security operations (Vigipirate and Sentinelle) or external ones: former Yugoslavia (1995), Kosovo (1999), Ivory Coast (2002-2007), Chad, Afghanistan (2010) and Mali, against the Al-Qaeda attempt to take over the country (2013).

Last modified on 26/02/2016

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