INDRA 2017: Why India, Russia 'Tri-Service' military exercise is important
India and Russia have been conducting military exercise since 2003. But this time is going to be special for the two countries. For the first time all the three services of the forced would be involved in this exercise.
Giving the Indo-Russian defence cooperation a major boost, Exercise INDRA-2017, the first ever Tri Services Joint Exercise between Indian and Russian Armed Forces will be conducted in the Eastern Military District of Russia from Oct 19 to 29.
Exercise INDRA in its previous nine avatars has been conducted as a single service exercise alternately between the two countries.
The year 2017 marks a major milestone as this Exercise has been upgraded to involve all the three Services of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force), which further accentuates the importance of Joint Services in the present world environment.
This comes after the regional tensions between India and China that recently ended its month-long military standoff at the Doklam.
China is engaged in expanding its naval presence in the Indian Ocean, builds infrastructure in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. India gets annoyed with all these.
The Indian contingent will comprise 350 personnel from Army, 80 from Air Force, two IL 76 aircraft and one frigate and corvette each from the Navy.
Russia will be represented by approximately 1000 troops of the 5th Army, marines and ships of Pacific Fleet and aircraft from Eastern Military District.
On 18 Oct 2017, Indian contingent flew in IL-76 aircraft of the Indian Air Force to Vladivostok comprising of Army and Air Force personnel. The contingent, led by the Task Force Commander, Maj Gen ND Prasad was accorded a warm welcome by Commander of the Fifth Army of Russian Eastern Military District, Maj Gen Kutuzov.
On 19 Oct 2017, two indigenously built Indian Naval ships INS Satpura and INS Kadmatt arrived at Vladivostok Port and were given a traditional ceremonial welcome. Rear Admiral Anatoliy Zelinsky, Deputy Commander, Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy was present on the occasion.
Earlier in the day, the delegation led by Maj Gen ND Prasad, Task Force Commander called on Alexey Litvinov, the acting Mayor of Vladivostok. Maj Gen ND Prasad thanked the Mayor for the extremely warm welcome accorded to the Indian contingent and expressed the hope that the exercise would lead to increased mutual cooperation between the two countries. Also, the Naval Component Commander Rear Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta interacted with Admiral Sergei Avakyants, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Pacific Fleet in a warm and cordial atmosphere.
An observer delegation led by Lt Gen JS Negi along with Air Vice Marshal VR Chaudhari and Rear Admiral V Sreenivas visited the 249 Sergeyvsky Training Ranges where a major part of the Army and Air Force component of tri-service exercise INDRA-2017 will be conducted. The delegation was briefed on the overall conduct of the exercise, after which they visited the camp where the contingent was being accommodated.
INDRA-2017 will serve towards strengthening mutual confidence and interoperability as well as sharing of the best practices between the armed forces of both the countries. The joint tri-service exercise will be a demonstration of the increasing commitment of both nations to address common challenges across the full spectrum of operations.