India, Russia to take part in joint military exercise: Giving a fillip to their defence cooperation, the Indian and Russian armed forces will take part in a joint counter-terrorism military exercise in Russia from Thursday, the first such drill involving the tri-services to be held outside the country, a top general said today.The 11-day ‘INDRA-2017’ exercise, starting from October 19, will be conducted at the 249th Combined Army Range Sergeevisky and in the Sea of Japan near Vladivostok. 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.Addressing the Indian contingent at the Palam Technical Area, Lt General Satish Dua, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) said the exercise 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, establishment of joint command and control structures between the Indian and Russian forces and elimination of terrorist threat in a multinational environment under the UN mandate,” he said. Dua also had a word of caution for the troops during their stay and advised them to maintain high standards of discipline and work ethic as they will be like “ambassadors” of India.Later talking to reporters, Dua said India had excellent defence relations with Russia and the country is a “natural partner” to hold such an exercise. He also said such drills will also take place with other countries.Exercise INDRA in its previous nine avatars has been conducted as a single service exercise alternately between the two countries. This year marks a major milestone as it has been upgraded to involve all the three services of the armed forces, which further accentuates the importance of the joint services in the present world environment.
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