Shakti 2016: over to the parade!

The joint Franco-Indian Shakti 2016 exercise has just ended. It was the third such exercise since the first was launched in 2011 with the aim of improving the interoperability between French and Indian units. This year saw 56 personnel from the 35th Infantry Regiment of the French Army trading know-how with their counterparts from the Garhwal Rifles on the desert plains of Rajhastan in north-eastern India.

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For 10 days the two units exchanged their experiences in combatting terrorism and counter-insurrection. Once the various procedures, tactics and equipment had been assimilated by both contingents they successfully undertook a final validation exercise on 15 and 16 January.

Shakti 2016 ended with a ceremony during which the different detachments were able to demonstrate the rich cultural and military heritage of their respective countries.

Below are a few photos of the exercise and a video (if, like us, you speak perfect Hindi!) which will give you a better idea of the exercise than any number of words could do:

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Soldiers from France and India take part in a mock drill during the last day of the 10-day-long Indo-French joint army exercise Shakti-2016 near Bikaner in Rajasthan, India, January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave

 

Soldiers from France and India take part in a mock drill during the last day of the 10-day-long Indo-French joint army exercise Shakti-2016 near Bikaner in Rajasthan, India, January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Soldiers from France and India take part in a mock drill during the last day of the 10-day-long Indo-French joint army exercise Shakti-2016 near Bikaner in Rajasthan, India, January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave

 

A French soldier (R) marches along with an Indian soldier during a parade on the last day of the 10-day-long Indo-French joint army exercise Shakti-2016 near Bikaner in Rajasthan, India, January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave

A French soldier (R) marches along with an Indian soldier during a parade on the last day of the 10-day-long Indo-French joint army exercise Shakti-2016 near Bikaner in Rajasthan, India, January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave

 

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The French Army’s 35th Infantry Brigade training for the Republic Day parade

 

 

Next comes another, equally perilous, exercise. In six days the 56 French soldiers will be the first foreign armed force to march alongside their Indian colleagues in the Republic Day parade. A special moment attended by French President François Hollande who, according to several of our sources, should use the opportunity of his visit to India to sign the contract for the sale of 36 Rafale combat aircraft to New Delhi.