THE Air Force element of the joint tri-services exercise ‘Indra’ between India and Russia is underway in Pune and Gwalior where Joint Task Force units are undertaking simulated operations to eliminate terrorists at the request of a third country under the United Nations mandate.
The Army and Navy modules of the exercise, respectively, are being conducted at Babina in Uttar Pradesh
and Goa. The Russian contingent in the exercise comprises more than 700 servicemen, including units of the all-arms army of the Eastern Military District, pilots and technical staff of the District’s Air Force and the sailors and Navy officers from warships in the Baltic Fleet.
The Indian Air Force has fielded its frontline fighter jet of Russian make, Sukhoi-30MKI, ground attack jets Jaguar, MI-17 helicopters, Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft and units of Garud commandos.
“The IAF is undertaking service specific and joint missions during the exercise. The broad theme of the exercise is to organise a Joint Task Force for undertaking planning and execution of air operations for eliminating terrorists at the request of the third country under UN mandate. Combined missions between IAF and Russian Federation Air Force will also be undertaken for enriching experience and maximising training value in terms of interoperability,” the IAF said in an official statement.
A senior IAF officer said, “Simulated targets like terrorist camps are created. Planning sessions are held to conduct an operation based on the request from a third country to eliminate the terrorist camp. During the planning of the attack, various aspects, including strategy, possible adversary reaction, international laws and response times are studied and simulated attack is executed. Like in Balakot attack where the Indian Air Force struck deep into enemy territory, these exercise also aim to test the capability of doing so, but with the joint team from two countries.”
Indra initially began as a bilateral one service exercise between India and Russia in 2003 and the first joint tri-services exercise was conducted in 2017. This is the second iteration of the tri-services version.
The sea phase of the Navy component will be held in the Arabian Sea. The Indian Navy will be represented by INS Aditya, a Fleet Support Ship and INS Tarkash, a frontline Guided Missile Frigate, along with the Navy’s Mig-29 fighter jets. Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) Ships Yaroslav Mudry, Viktor Konetsky and Elyna are also participating.
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