India, France Armies to undertake major exercise | Shakti | Marin Gillier | Indian Express KOCHI: 'Shakti,' the first major exercise between the Armies of India and France, will be held in September or October this year in North India, said Vice-Admiral Marin Gillier, Commander of French forces in the Indian Ocean. Speaking to the media on board French Landing Helicopter Dock 'Mistral,' which called at Kochi on Thursday, along with frigate 'Georges Leygues,' the Admiral said: "For major exercises we have to develop a link wherein we get together more often. With the Air Force we have the 'Garuda.' In the last month we were developing some new links with the land forces here, that's the Army. We are going to have some exchanges on a regular basis. The first major exercise named 'Shakti' will be held in September or October in North India," he said. 'Mistral' called at Kochi along with frigate 'Georges Leygues' with cadets of the Naval Academy on board. The visit is part of the training given to the cadets, who go out to sea for six months. The vessels will leave for Singapore, the next port of call, on May 8.LHD Mistral, commanded by Captain Xavier Moreau has 130 cadets including 90 from the Naval Academy and 18 cadets from different countries. Georges Leygues, the frigate escorting Mistral, is an Anti-Submarine Warfare Ship (ASW), and is commanded by Captain Christophe Lucas. Vice-Admiral Marin Gillier said the French Navy has had ties with the Indian Navy for many years. "We meet on a regular basis. At the strategic level there are regular exchanges. We exchange ideas. And there are regular assessments of situations. France is eager to help the Indian Armed Forces develop new know-hows. We have developed a number of training skills and specific equipment. The Indian Navy would like to know what we develop, why and how in order to cooperate with us. At the same time we would like to share their knowledge. The Indian Navy has its own skill development and its own equipment. The Indian Navy knows the region much better, he said. Elaborating on the exercises between the two nations, he said, "We have a main exercise called Varuna. The next exercise will be held in France in August in the Mediterranean Sea. To prepare for such exercises we need planning conferences. The next one will be held in Mumbai next week," he said. Anti-piracy Operations On the counter-piracy operations undertaken by the French Navy, the Admiral said that the issue of piracy should not be resolved through military means. "It comes from shore. It has to be dealt with there," he said. First we need to understand how we can act on some points to stop piracy. We send ships all over to know what's going on and who's hiding where and similar information. The second way is to speak to all Navies in the Indian Ocean. We do exchange information with other Navies. We do exchange intelligence every minute, we like to move as a coalition. The French Navy has been successfully implementing a system to protect civilian ships. "Small teams of French Navy will embark on board civilian ships to protect them. We have exchanged the idea with the Southern Naval Command officials during the discussions held with them on Thursday morning," he said.