India-Russia war drill likely once in two yrs

India-Russia war drill likely once in two yrs

India and Russia have decided to institutionalise the tri-service military exercises involving the armies, navies and air forces of the two allies.

The tri-service exercise may be held once every two years, while the individual services can plan their solo drills in the intervening year. With the progress of time, more advanced weapons would be used in the tri-service war-game.

The decision was taken following the successful conduct of the first ever tri-service war game, Indra-2017, last month at Vladivostok between Oct 19-29.

The next edition of the tri-service drill is likely to take place in India in 2019, sources told DH.

"It was a common decision to convert the annual Indra series of exercises between the two militaries into a tri-service exercise. We hope to continue with the practice with more weapons in the future," Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev said here on Wednesday.

Asked about Russia holding almost simultaneous exercises with arch-enemies India and Pakistan, Kudashev said, "Our relation with India is a strategic partnership, it is second to no one in the world. I do not see any need to equalise the relationship between Russia and India with Russia and Pakistan."

The armies of Russia and Pakistan - who were cold war rivals - have carried out two exercises so far, the second of which was in September 2017.

Indra-2017 was the first tri-service exercise that Russia had with any country, pointed out Lt Gen Satish Dua, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, flagging the importance of the drill.

The war drill was also one of the talking points in the behind-the-scene discussions at the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting in the Philippines, which was attended by, among others, Nirmala Sitharaman and her US counterpart Jim Mattis.

Nearly 900 Indian soldiers and over 1,000 Russian troopers participated in the exercise, which simulated thwarting a terror operation using all the three elements of the combat.

Two Indian warships participated in the exercise, while IAF pilots flew the Russian jets.

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