The ninth edition of a joint military exercise between India and Sri Lanka commenced on Thursday in Pune, which will focus on achieving an enhanced level of interoperability among the troops, officials said.
The 'Exercise MITRA SHAKTI-2023' is being conducted from November 16-29 at Aundh.
The Indian contingent of 120 personnel is being represented mainly by troops from the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, the defence ministry said in a statement.
"The Sri Lankan side is being represented by personnel from the 53 Infantry Division. Fifteen personnel from the Indian Air Force and five personnel from Sri Lankan Air Force are also participating in the exercise," it said.
The aim of the exercise is to jointly rehearse conduct of sub-conventional operations under Chapter VII of United Nations Charter.
"The scope of the exercise includes synergising joint responses during counter-terrorist operations. Both sides will practice tactical actions such as raid, search and destroy missions, heliborne operations, etc. In addition, Army Martial Arts Routine (AMAR), combat reflex shooting and yoga will also form part of the exercise curriculum," it added.
'Exercise MITRA SHAKTI-2023' will also involve employment of drones and counter unmanned aerial systems, besides helicopters. Drills to secure helipads and undertake casualty evacuation during counter-terrorist operations will also be rehearsed jointly by both sides, the statement said.
Collective efforts will focus on achieving an enhanced level of interoperability amongst the troops and reduce the risk of life and property while keeping the interests and agenda of the UN at the forefront during peace keeping operations, officials said.
"Both sides will exchange views and practices of joint drills on a wide spectrum of combat skills that will facilitate the participants to mutually learn from each other. Sharing of best practices will further enhance the level of defence cooperation between Indian Army and the Sri Lankan Army.
The exercise will also foster strong bilateral relations between the two neighbouring nations," it added.