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 19 to 29 Oct 2017. 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 & Air Force), which further accentuates the importance of Joint Services in the present world environment.
Exercise INDRA-2017 will be conducted at the 249th Combined Army Range Sergeevich and in the Sea of Japan near Vladivostok. The Indian contingent will comprise of 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 will be represented by approximately 1000 troops of the 5th Army, Marines and Ships of Pacific Fleet and aircraft from Eastern Military District.
Addressing the Indian Contingent, Lt Gen Satish Dua, UYSM, SM, VSM, CISC reminded them of the importance of the upcoming Exercise which will provide an opportunity to the armed forces of both countries to train in counter-terrorism operations in a multinational scenario in a joint tri-service environment. The scope of the Exercise includes professional interactions, the establishment of joint command and control structures between the Indian & Russian forces and elimination of terrorist threat in a multinational environment under the UN mandate.
Exercise INDRA-2017 will strengthen mutual confidence, inter-operability and enable sharing of best practices between both the armed forces. It will be a landmark event in the history of Indo-Russian defence cooperation.
For India, the major emphasis during the drill will be on enhancing inter-service cooperation and synergizing jointness. As we noted:
The Indian military has been pushing towards better integration of its three service branches based on a warfighting doctrine emphasizing joint operations.
Beyond that, India’s military seeks “complete and effective inter-operability” with “countries, big and small” in order to effectively conduct military operations overseas, The Diplomat reported (…) in an article analyzing India’s latest Joint Armed Forces Doctrine
It is a first mega tri-services war game- Indra involving their armies, navies and air forces with an aim to boost their operational coordination. The Indian contingent includes nearly 450 personnel while the Russian side is being represented by around 1,000 troops in the 10-day exercise Indra.
- The Indian Army, Navy and Air Force have been holding bilateral exercises separately with their Russian counterparts but it is for the first time that the two countries are carrying out a tri-services exercise.
The significance of the exercise:
- 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.
- The first ever tri-service exercise between the two countries reflects the vibrancy of the continued Indo-Russian strategic partnership.
- With the rich operational experience of Russian and Indian armies in counterinsurgency operations, both sides will gain immensely from each other to further develop their capabilities. The exercise will further strengthen the relationship between the two defence forces.
INDRA is a joint, bi-annual military exercise conducted by India and Russia starting in 2003. The exercise is tasked with boosting cooperation and interoperability between the Russian and Indian navies. The word INDRA is a portmanteau of the participants’ respective countries.The end of the Cold War which brought greatly reduced defence budgets saw a collapse in shipbuilding and naval activity in Russia throughout the 1990s. During this time, the Russian navy had no presence in the Indian Ocean. This changed in 2001, when a contingent of naval ships, including anti-submarine warfare vessels and a tanker, docked at Mumbai.