Mitra Shakti Exercise is a joint military exercise by the armies of India and Sri Lanka. This exercise is important to exchange skills on counter insurgency and counter terrorism operation for armies of both nation. Read this article to know more!
Mitra Shakti, meaning “Power of Friendship”, is the bilateral military exercise between the Indian and Sri Lankan armed forces. The military of these two neighboring countries engages in joint training drills periodically to imbibe the best practices of each other. A crucial aspect of the Indo-Lankan bilateral defense ties, the long-term goal of Mitra Shakti is to build a closer diplomatic relationship and enhance military cooperation between the armies of both countries.
As a demonstration of their mutual commitment to regional security and stability, India and Sri Lanka agreed upon the joint military training exercise in 2004 on the sidelines of the bilateral summit in New Delhi. The year 2012 saw the first Mitra Shakti Exercise get underway between the two countries. Since then, each party alternately hosted the joint drills. The latest one was in October 2021, hosted by Sri Lanka at Ampara. India had hosted the immediately preceding exercise in Pune in 2019.
In line with the UN Peacekeeping Operations mandate, the Mitra Shakti exercise focuses on tactical operations to counter insurgent and terrorist activities in semi-urban locales. Split into three distinct phases, the exercise involves:
- Training of artillery, infantry, and armoured units of the coast guard, paramilitary and Special Forces.
- Joint military manoeuvres like the artillery firing, airborne evacuation and parachuting of combat units, etc., in full-fledged combat environments.
- A validation routine to test the skills and capabilities developed by each contingent, and procedures learnt during the training and joint military manoeuvres.
The exercise provides insight into the best practices of both armies, besides helping build expertise through simulated operations and the exchange of experiences. Furthermore, the knowledge sharing and joint operations practiced during the Mitra Shakti exercise prepares the personnel for any eventuality and ease the path of interoperability, should the need arise.
By participating in the Mitra Shakti exercise, both Indian and Sri Lankan armed forces establish their mutual capabilities and capacities for defence collaboration, besides validating their combat readiness. Moreover, the event is instrumental in enhancing the bilateral trust and confidence to fight common adversaries or simply having the partner country’s back when needed.