India and Russia kicked off a joint military exercise in Vladivostok on Friday that will see troops training for counter-terrorism operations in semi-mountainous and jungle terrain.
This is the eighth edition of Exercise Indra, which has been held by the two sides since 2003. Each side has fielded 250 soldiers for the 11-day wargame, which is aimed at achieving interoperability in joint operations.
“Russia’s Eastern Military District and India’s armed forces will create a joint group for an operation to identify, block and eliminate hypothetical groups of terrorists and illegal armed groups. Aviation and artillery units will be involved,” Russian military spokesperson Vladimir Matveyev said.
Besides soldiers from Russia’s 59th Motorised Infantry Brigade, a unit of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defence Troops will participate in the drill.
The Indian Army described the Indra exercise as “one of the major bilateral defence cooperation initiatives between India and
Russia”. During the opening ceremony, Brig Sukrit Chadah, the head of the Indian contingent, highlighted the “need for jointness between the two nations to defeat terrorism”.
The exercise in Vladivostok began as a contingent of Russian troops arrived in Pakistan for the first joint drill by the two countries.