Joint Action

Exercise INDRA 2017 includes for the first time all three services of the armed forces

A FORCE Report

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 was conducted in the eastern military district of Russia from October 19 to 29. The exercise 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.

Exercise INDRA 2017 includes for the first time all three services of the armed forces

It was conducted at the 249th Combined Army Range Sergeevisky and in the Sea of Japan near Vladivostok. The Indian contingent comprised 350 personnel from army, 80 from air force, two IL 76 aircraft and one frigate and corvette each from the navy. The Russian Federation armed forces were represented by approximately 1000 troops of the 5th Army, marines and ships of Pacific fleet and aircraft from Eastern Military district.

Since its beginning in 2003, the INDRA military drill has alternatively involved Indian and Russian ground and naval forces. In 2016, the exercise was held from December 14 to December 21 at Visakhapatnam and the Bay of Bengal. Both countries also conducted a joint counterterrorism exercise under the INDRA framework in 2016.

The Indian and Russian defence ministers signed a military cooperation roadmap during the 17th meeting of the Russian-Indian inter-governmental commission for military-technical cooperation in June 2017. The document is meant to be the basic document in planning bilateral military contacts between the two countries. Another potential venue for Indo-Russian military cooperation has been opened up with India’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) earlier this year.

The Indian Army contingent was led by a major-general rank officer, the Indian Air Force (IAF) by an air commodore while a rear admiral lead the Indian Navy team. While the army and IAF contingents flew to Russia in two IL-76 aircraft, the navy set sail in two ships, INS Satpura, a stealth frigate, and INS Kadmat, an anti-submarine warfare corvette with two Chetak helicopters on board.

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