A contingent of 120 Army personnel of the Indian Army this afternoon (2) arrived at Mattala International Airport to participate in the 8th consecutive iteration of the joint Exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’ between Sri Lanka and India.
An all-arms Indian contingent for ‘Mitra Shakti’, headed by Colonel Prakash Kumar, Commanding Officer was welcomed by Brigadier BN Godellwatta, Deputy Director, Ex-Mithra Shakti, together with Captain Vikas Sood, Defence Attache in the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka at the airport.
Two years after its seventh edition was held at Foreign Training Node in Pune, the eighth edition of India-Sri Lanka bilateral joint exercise, Mitra Shakti, will be conducted at Combat Training School, Ampara in Sri Lanka from October 4 to 15, for 12 days.
The exercise aims to promote close relations between the armies of both countries and enhance inter-operability and sharing best practices in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
‘Mitra Shakti’ which means ‘power of friendship’ is conducted under the United Nations (UN) mandate as both the armies contribute to the United National Peacekeeping Forces, which are deployed in troubled areas across the world.
An all-arms contingent of 120 personnel of the Indian Army is participating in the exercise along with a battalion of the Sri Lankan Army.
The Sri Lanka Army will be represented by 120 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR) troops under the close supervision of General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, Major General Nishantha Manage, General Officer Commanding, 53 Division functions as the Exercise Director with the Deputy Director of the Exercise.
“The exercise will involve tactical level operations at sub unit level in an international Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism environment and will go a long way in further strengthening the relationship between both the South Asian Nations and will act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation at grass root level between both Armies.” a press statement from the defence ministry said.
The seventh edition was conducted at Foreign Training Node, which is located at the Aundh Military Station in Pune in December 2019. These exercises are conducted every year alternately in India and Sri Lanka and were deferred in 2020 due to the pandemic. The exercise is also important from the defence diplomacy point of view considering the dynamics in the Indian Ocean region, officials said.
In the seventh edition, a contingent from the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army and the Gemunu Watch infantry regiment of Sri Lanka had participated. The contingents had received lessons in perception management and information warfare, human rights and humanitarian law, along with the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism (CI-CT) operations in urban and rural environments.