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Russia, India to hold joint military drills
October 14, 2013, 5:29 pm

Russia’s assault combat troopers will be working with Indian military in semi-desert terrain conditions [Getty Images]

Russia’s assault combat troopers will be working with Indian military in semi-desert terrain conditions [Getty Images]

Russia and India will hold joint military exercises later this week in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, ahead of a state visit to Moscow by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The launch of joint army exercises Indra 2013 will include drills that will last for 10 days starting October 18.

The Indo-Russian command staff plan to train for joint anti-terror operations, peacekeeping manoeuvres, as well as to enhance cooperation at the tactical level within the framework of the UN peace keeping operations.

Russia’s assault combat troopers will be working with Indian military in semi-desert terrain conditions.

The international exercises will be conducted at the Mahajan field firing range in Rajasthan.

According to Russia’s Defence Ministry, the October drills will be separated into three stages – first troopers will be deployed and conduct orientation exercises in the training area. The exercise will involve about 250 paratroopers from Russia’s Eastern Command formation.

During the second and final stage Russian and Indian military will work on tactical issues of combating, pursuing and eliminating illegal armed bands.

A total of 500 troopers from Russia and India will participate in the drills.

India will provide 30 units of military equipment – tanks T72, BMP-2K, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles.

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in Moscow earlier this month described Indo-Russian ties as “unique and special”.

India is the largest importer of Russian arms and the two nations share traditional ties linked by defence and military cooperation, civil nuclear energy, space, culture and education.

According to a 2013 BBC World Service Poll, 42 per cent of Russians view India positively, with only nine per cent expressing a negative view.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss nuclear cooperation, trade and defence during his October 20 to 22 Moscow visit.

Regional security, especially in the backdrop of the volatility in Afghanistan post NATO-pullout will also be discussed by the two sides.

India’s bid to joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the issues of strengthening military cooperation will be discussed at the ministries level while the joint drills are held.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had vowed earlier that Moscow will help New Delhi join the SCO as a permanent member.

Daria Chernyshova in Moscow with inputs from Agencies for The BRICS Post

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