Indian and French forces have commenced the sixth edition of the Indo – France joint military biennial training exercise ‘EX SHAKTI 2021’.

EX Shakti 2021 exercise began at the Military School of Draguignan, France. It started on 15 November and runs until 26 November.

The exercise is aimed at strengthening military cooperation and interoperability between the armies of the two countries.

A platoon of three junior commissioned officers and 37 soldiers from the Gorkha Rifles Infantry Battalion and Support Arms are representing the Indian contingent in the exercise.

Meanwhile, the French counterpart is being represented by troops from the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment of the 6th Light Armoured Brigade.

So far, the military drill has included activities such as joint planning and mutual understanding for conduct of operations.

It also focused on identifying coordination aspects needed for jointly operating in counter-terrorism operations against the backdrop of semi-urban terrain under a ‘United Nations Mandate’.

According to an Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement, the participating forces also underwent combat conditioning and tactical training.

Training activities conducted so far have included ‘battle hardening’ work sessions and firing drills.

Being conducted in two phases, the exercise will be concluded with a 36-hour drill to assess the standards achieved in both phases.

Last week, it was reported that Russia will begin the first set of deliveries of S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile systems to India by end of 2021.

In 2018, India had signed a $5.4bn procurement deal with Russia’s Rosoboronexport for five S-400 Triumph systems.