Indian, French armies conclude war games at Chaubatia

In an unprecedented operation, highly-trained Indian and French troops undertook a daring search-and-destroy mission in the hills of Ranikhet in Uttarkhand to neutralise terrorists hiding in the dense Pilkholi forests.

The mission was part of the consolidation exercise that marked the culmination of a 15-day ‘Shakti-2011' war games at Chaubatia, which were undertaken by armies of both countries for the first time.

As part of the mission, the troops reached the area after a gruelling march through Thursday night and carried out a precise, well coordinated and executed operation, an Army spokesman said.

The mission included clearing and destroying a terrorist hideout, employment of the Quick Reaction Teams to neutralise escaping terrorists and carrying out a thorough search of the dense forest.

The highlight of the event was a surgical raid by helicopter-borne commandoes of both the armies on a simulated target. The French Army commandoes also employed three paragliding commandoes during the raid.

France was represented by four officers and 50 troops of the 13 Mountain Infantry Battalion, while an equal number of officers and troops participated from the Second Battalion of the Bihar Regiment, under the aegis of the 99 Mountain Brigade representing India.

Bilateral cooperation

Besides providing a platform for both armies to train in counter-terrorist operations in mountainous terrain, the exercise aims to enhance bilateral defence cooperation and military relations between the two nations.

The final phase of the exercise was reviewed by Brigadier General Herve Wattecamps and Colonel Bertrand Lavaux as representatives of France, and by Major General Rajesh Arya, General Officer Commanding, 6 Mountain Division and Brigadier A.K. Yadav, Commander, 99 Mountain Brigade, for India.

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