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    ‘Mitra Shakthi’ Boosts Strength & Friendship, Says Indian Army Chief Witnessing Final Mock Attack at Maduru Oya

    October 18, 2021

    The final mock demonstration of the largest-ever joint Exercise ‘Mitra Shakthi VIII’ that ushers in revitalized bonds of friendly goodwill and strong cooperation between the Sri Lanka Army and the Indian Army got underway Oct;(15) in the presence of General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army as the Chief Guest and his host, General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army at Maduru Oya Army Training School (ATS) grounds.

    An all arms contingent of 120 Jawans of the Indian Army, headed by Colonel Prakash Kumar, Commanding Officer and an equal number of Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment of the Sri Lankan Army, commanded by Major Mahesh Pathiraja were participating in the 8th edition of the Exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’ after the Exercise kicked off on 3rd October 2021.

    Major General Nishantha Manage, General Officer Commanding, 53 Division has been functioning as the Exercise Director with the Deputy Director of the Exercise, Brigadier B. N Godellwatta on the guidelines given by the Commander of the Army.

    The India-Sri Lanka bilateral joint Exercise, designed to enhance understanding of transnational terrorism, inter-operability skills, conduct of joint tactical operations, sharing of each other’s best practices and experiences, etc during their stay at the Combat Training School in Ampara rehearsed several tactical and strategic operations before today’s final simulated attack on the Fight-in-Built up Areas (FIBUA) of the enemy hideout was launched.

    Major General Nishantha Manage, Exercise Director received the distinguished guests for the occasion, General Manoj Mukund Naravane and General Shavendra Silva upon arrival.

    Minutes after the visiting Indian Army Chief and the Sri Lankan Army Chief arrived at the location, they were invited to witness a few video glimpses of this year’s Exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’ before they were ushered to the location of the final Exercise.

    Colonel Girish Godial, Colonel John Daniel and the Lady Officer Lieutenant Colonel Zulage Meera of the Indian Army as Observers evaluated the Exercise throughout during the two-week long Exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’ where Army personnel of both organizations participated in tactical level operations at the sub-unit level in an international counter-insurgency manoeuver and counter-terrorism environment amid crossfires, backed by armoured tanks, buffels and helicopters of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

    General Manoj Mukund Naravane and General Shavendra Silva closely watched the near 40-minute Exercise with intense enthusiasm as respective troops went into action torpedoing enemy hideouts during the mock Exercise.

    Major General Nishantha Manage, Exercise Director adding appreciative recognition for the Indian Army Chief’s historic presence at the ATS Maduru Oya awarded a special memento to General Manoj Mukund Naravane and another souvenir to the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, General Shavendra Silva.

    Towards the end of the day’s programme, both Army Chiefs interacted with troops who participated in the Exercise and sat with them for group photographs. He also left his complimentary memories in the SFTS’s visitors’ book during refreshments.

    Similarly, the Indian Army Chief, taking time off to talk to the Media personnel who had been there at Maduru Oya said that he believed the existing friendly ties between both armies were further strengthened as a result of this joint Exercise as the armies in both countries continue to closely liaise with each other. “Mitra Shakti” means strength and friendship and this Exercise further deepened those ties, and I sincerely believe to have more such for such programmes organized in future too in order to share our experiences and military knowledge,” General Manoj Mukund Naravane.

    General Shavendra Silva interacting with Media attributed the Exercise as a very valuable opportunity for both armies to improve their professional standards, individual competencies and bilateral working relations while sharing each other’s experiences which also contribute to the goodwill of both countries. “The Sri Lankan Army troops were represented by all arms and also the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) wing which performed a very vital piece of work during the height of COVID-19 epidemic. This is a special occasion since the Exercise was witnessed by the Indian Army Chief who also attended the Gajaba Regiment Regimental Day.

    The annual training programme which has largely contributed to strengthen bilateral military cooperation, understanding and bonds of neighborly relations between both services takes place alternately either in India or Sri Lanka every year.

    COVID-19 health guidelines were strictly followed during the whole of the Exercise.
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