French and Indian Armies Commence Joint Exercise SHAKTI 2024 in Umroi, Meghalaya

The collaborative military exercise between the Indian and French Armies, known as ‘SHAKTI 2024’, has commenced today at the Eastern Command’s Joint Training Node in Umroi, Meghalaya. This marks the seventh iteration of the SHAKTI joint exercise series, alternately hosted in India and France. His Excellency Mr. Thierry Mathou, the Ambassador of France to India, delivered a speech on Indo-French defence cooperation during the inauguration ceremony.


This year’s exercise is primarily focused on training for ground control operations in semi-urban and mountainous terrains, operating under a United Nations mandate. Scheduled to last until 26 May 2024, this edition introduces a new level of complexity, featuring twice the number of troops compared to previous iterations. It commences with a brigade-level command post exercise and incorporates, for the first time, Air Force assets alongside Navy and Air Force observers.


The French contingent comprises 90 personnel from the esteemed Légion étrangère (Foreign Legion), an elite corps within the French Army. Notably, on 26 January, another contingent from the Légion étrangère participated in India’s Republic Day parade, with France serving as the guest of honour.


This year’s SHAKTI exercise is conducted within the framework of enhanced Indo-French defence ties, following President Macron’s State Visit to India on 25-26 January. Noteworthy recent engagements include an official visit by CDS General Anil Chauhan to France, reciprocal visits by the French Navy and Army Chiefs to India, and the port call of the French frigate FNS Bretagne in Kerala as part of its Indo-Pacific deployment. The bilateral “Varuna” naval exercise is scheduled for later this year, and the French Air Force will participate in India’s multi-nation Tarang-Shakti exercise in August.


Defence and security cooperation forms an indispensable component of the Indo-French strategic partnership, as underscored in the Horizon 2047 Roadmap. This roadmap, adopted during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2023 visit to France on Bastille Day, outlines the trajectory of the partnership over the next 25 years. Indo-French defence cooperation aims to fortify both nations’ sovereignty and strategic autonomy while fostering regional peace and stability.



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