The fourth edition of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise 'MITRA SHAKTI 2016' was conducted at Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka from October 24 to November 6, 2016. The main focus of this edition of the joint exercise is to enhance inter-operability while carrying out Counter Insurgency (CI)/Counter Terrorism (CT) operations under the United Nations Mandate. A comprehensive training programme spanning fourteen days was drawn up for the purpose.
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 Opening Ceremony was held on October 24, 2016 during which the troops of both contingents participated in a ceremonial Parade. Brig BL Ratnayake, Commandant of Sri Lankan Sinha Regimental Centre from the Sri Lankan Army also addressed the troops. The exercise culminated on November 6, 2016 after fourteen days of intense military training.
In the initial stages, both armies got familiar with the respective methodology of operations of each other's arms and equipment and the command and control systems. It then graduated towards tactical understanding to enhance inter operability while carrying out Counter Insurgency/Counter Terrorism operations.
The exercise also provided an opportunity to both the armies for greater cultural understanding, sharing experiences and strengthening mutual trust and co-operation. The participating contingents expressed immense satisfaction at the standards achieved during the validation phase of the exercise. The contingents of both armies carried home, cherished memories of bonhomie and the professional association established.
The previous exercise with the Sri Lankan Army was successfully conducted in the month of September 2015 at Pune in India. "Mitra Shakti" series of bilateral exercises is one of the major bilateral defence cooperation initiatives between India and Sri Lanka since 2013.
- Col Rohan Anand
Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise Mitra Shakti 2016