Mitra Shakti 2017, a joint exercise between India and Sri Lanka for military co-operation and interoperability, will be conducted at the Aundh Military Camp in Pune between October 13 and 25. The training exercise is considered an important effort in India’s response to China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
Army officials said the aim of the joint training is to exchange the best of military practices of the two countries and build a strong military-to-military relation between the two armies. The exercise, the fifth in the series, also aims at developing joint strategies by sharing the expertise of conducting operations, especially in the counter-insurgency and counter terrorism (CI and CT) environment, said an official.
The exercise will be conducted over two weeks, and the training module will include weapons training, basic military tactics and complex battle strategies. The series — Mitra Shakti — had started in 2012, mainly as a response to China’s efforts to increase its influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. The armies of India and Sri Lanka also serve together in the United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
Senior military observers of both countries will be attending the Final Tactical Exercise scheduled to be held at the Aundh Military Station on October 25.
The fourth chapter of the exercise was held at the Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka, in 2016, when the main focus was to enhance inter-operability in CI and CT operations under the UN mandate. The Indian contingent was represented by a platoon from the Rajputana Rifles Regiment and the Sri Lankan Army was represented by a platoon from the Sinha Regiment. The earlier joint military exercise was conducted in 2015, in Pune.