India will hold its first bilateral tri-service exercise with Russia in October this year. This is the first such exercise that India will conduct with any of its foreign partners, reflecting maturity in the strategic partnership.
The exercise called Indra is India’s way of balancing strategic relations with Russia and the US and send a message to China. It will be focussed on counter-terrorism tactics with the involvement of mechanised forces such as tanks and infantry combat vehicles, artillery guns, Indian Air Force transport planes and naval anti-submarine ships and special forces personnel.
The very decision to have Russia as a partner for first ever trilateral exercise reflects confidence in defence partnership evolved over five decades, said an expert who did not wish to be quoted.
This is also a reflection of familiarity with each other and need to elevate strategic partnership at a new level. Even as it has developed close partnership with China post-sanctions India continues to be a key partner for Moscow.
The third planning conference meant to decide the modalities of the exercise took place between Indian and Russian delegations at Ussuryisk, Russia in mid-September this year. It was mutually agreed to conduct the exercise from October 19 to 29 at Vladivostok in eastern Russia, which is not very far from Russia’s borders with China and North Korea. The exercise will take place at three locations in this area- Sergeevsky 249 Combined Arms Training Area, Cape Klerk and Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan. Russia wants India to enhance presence in Far East Russia when Beijing has made inroads.
A 350 strong army contingent from different combat arms- infantry, artillery and armour will participate in the exercise. Tanks and BMP infantry fighting vehicles will be provided to the Indian Army for the exercise in Russia.
Source: Economic Times