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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Tri-services military exercise between India, Russia takes off

Focus on countering terrorism, preventing arms smuggling; piracy.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune | Published: December 12, 2019 4:46:24 am
The Air Force part of the exercise will be held in Pune. File

THE second edition of Indra, a tri-services exercise between India and Russia, which will be simultaneously held at Babina, Pune and Goa, was inaugurated at Babina on Wednesday. Among other joint operations, the Indo-Russia troops will get lessons in prevention of arms smuggling through the sea route and anti-piracy measures during the exercise.

Company-sized mechanised contingents, fighters, helicopters, transport aircraft and ships of respective Army, Air Force and Navy of the two countries will participate in this 10-day exercise. Indra will consist of a five-day training phase with a training curriculum.

“Tactical field exercises will comprise actions towards prevention of arms smuggling through the sea route and piracy attacks, cordon house intervention and handling and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for anti-terror operations. This training phase will be followed by a three-day validation exercise, where the acquired skills will be put to test,” said a senior officer.

The Army part of the exercise will be held at Babina near Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, the Air Force part in Pune and the Navy part at Goa and in the Arabian Sea. Indra initially began as a bilateral naval exercise between the Indian and Russian Federation navies in 2003, and the first joint tri-services exercise was conducted in 2017.

Officials said that the Navy component will be held in two phases — the harbour phase will be held at Goa till December 15 and the sea phase, for the remaining four days, 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. On Tuesday, Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) Ships Yaroslav Mudry, Viktor Konetsky and Elyna arrived at Goa to be part of the exercise.

“The Navy component activities to be practiced include underway replenishment, where fuel, supplies and ammunition are transferred from one ship to another while underway, as well as air defence drills, surface firings and other tactical procedures. In addition, Dornier and P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft, MIG-29 K Fighter Aircraft and other integral rotary wing helicopters from the Navy will also participate in the exercise,” said another officer.

The Indian Army will also be fielding a Ghatak Platoon of commandos and the Air Force will press into action its frontline fighter jets Sukhoi-30 MKI, Jaguar fighter jets and Mi-17 helicopters, and an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).

Speaking about the Air Force component, an officer said, “The joint teams of the air warriors from both countries, along with the air assets, will conduct reconnaissance missions, combat air patrols, flying aircraft in different formations. These teams will perform joint tasks as part of the simulated anti-terror missions.”

A press statement from the Army on Wednesday said, “Exercise Indra-2019 will further cement the long-standing strategic ties between India and Russia. As part of the exercise, important lectures, demonstrations and drills related to counter-terrorism operations will be conducted. Both the countries will also share their valuable experience in countering such situations and refine drills and procedures for joint operations.”

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