India, Russia armies jointly learn anti-terror operations

The 10-day military exercise, Indra 2010, has entered the active phase of anti-terrorist drill that began Friday at Uttarakhand's Chaubattia area. The exercise has over 200 Russians and an equal number of Indian  personnel from their infantry battalions participating.

They are currently practising operational coordination, working on practical training missions in mountains, arranging interactions between units, the official said. They have started patrols in areas of "presumed terrorists" locations, he said, adding they have also set up mock mobile checkpoints on mountainous roads to learn how to stop the penetration of terrorists into populated areas and important state facilities.

The Russian Air Force's Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft carried the troops from Russia's 34th Mountain Brigade, based in the North Caucasus, to Uttarakhand last week. They are equipped with lightweight Permyachka infantry suits, which protect at least 80 percent of the body surface from small-caliber bullets and low-speed shrapnel.

"The exercise is aimed at enhancing defence cooperation and military-to-military relations between the two armies," a defence spokesperson said.  Indra 2010 is the third exercise in the Indra series. The first was held at the Mahajan ranges in Rajasthan in 2005, and the second was organised at Pskov in Russia in 2007.

The drill comes after an inter-governmental commission for military and technical cooperation meeting headed by the defence ministers of the two countries concluded early this month.  Defence Minister A.K. Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov met over two days to discuss defence relations, buying and selling of military hardware and cooperation in military technologies.

Antony and Serdyukov, after the 10th Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation meeting Oct 7, announced the two countries would hold another exercise in 2011. India's military cooperation with Russia goes back nearly half a century. New Delhi accounts for about 40 percent of Russian arms exports.

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