India, Sri Lanka hold joint military exercise

New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) India and Sri Lanka are holding a joint military exercise at Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka, an official said on Tuesday.

The joint exercise is focused on enhancing inter-operability in counter terror operations, a statement said.

The exercise — Mitra Shakti 2016 — which started on Monday, will conclude on November 6.

This is the fourth edition of the exercise.

“The main focus of this edition of the joint exercise is to enhance inter-operability while carrying out counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism operations under the United Nations mandate. A comprehensive training programme spanning fourteen days has been drawn up for the purpose,” the statement said.

The Indian Army contingent, that reached Sri Lanka on October 23, is represented by a platoon from the Rajputana Rifles and the Sri Lankan Army has a platoon from the Sinha Regiment.

The opening ceremony was held on Monday, in which the troops of both contingents participated in a ceremonial parade, the statement said.

In the initial two stages of the exercise, both armies would get familiar with the respective methodology of such operations, each other’s arms and equipment and the command and control systems.

It will then graduate towards tactical understanding to enhance inter-operability while carrying out operations to counter insurgency and terrorism.

The last exercise with the Sri Lankan Army was conducted in September 2015 at Pune in India.

Mitra Shakti series of bilateral exercises has been one of the major defence cooperation initiatives between India and Sri Lanka since 2013.

–IANS

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