The second major military exercise between Indian Army and French Army, EXERCISE SHAKTI-13 has moved into the ‘Tactical Phase’ after a week-long ‘Orientation Phase’. In the past week, the troops of the Indian Army Contingent belonging to 5th Battalion, The Kumaon Regiment underwent various modules acclimatizing themselves to the terrain, equipment and procedures followed by the French Army.
The exercise is being conducted in the general area of Tignes in the French Alps region while the contingent is located in a place called Lebouisse. Various activities conducted by the contingent include practice of rappelling at a rockface of approximately 80 meters at Le Chevrin and mountaineering practice on a training circuit called Via Ferratta. The circuit at Via Ferratta has different levels of difficulty and the well–trained Indian Contingent impressed their French hosts with their agility and climbing prowess.
The contingents from both countries have also developed a strong relationship over the past week by partnering each other in various joint activities like navigation exercises, medical casualty evacuation drills and presentations to each other on topics of mutual interest. The French Army Contingent was particularly impressed with the Indian Army’s experiences in high altitude mountain warfare in the Siachen Glacier.
The stage has now been set for the next phase of the exercise with the troops moving to Vulmix, approximately 25 KMs from Lebouisse for the tactical part wherein operations relating to counter terrorism will be practiced. The preparations made by both contingents will be tested in an operational environment to derive maximum lessons and the aspects of interoperability as envisaged in the planning phase will therefore be validated in the final exercise.