India, Russia to upgrade military exercises

India and Russia have agreed to upgrade their annual Indra bilateral military exercise to a multilateral level involving the three services. This will be a first for India in bilateral military exercises with any other country. “There will be no separate Army, Navy Air Force Indra exercises with Russia. It has been agreed to have them in a tri-service format,” This will be an opportunity for India to synergise jointness between its services and see how other countries function jointly. This year’s edition of Indra exercises are scheduled to be held around October or November in Russia. The initial planning conference to finalise the details has already been held. Two more meetings will be held to finalise all the details. The Integrated Defence Staff of the Defence Ministry will lead the exercises which are planned to take place in Russia this year. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to visit Russia from April 25 on a bilateral visit where he will also address the Moscow Conference on International Security on April 26.Mr. Jaitley will have a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu and other bilaterals.

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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 exercise involves live firing drills, as well as air defence and anti submarine operations. Additionally, counterpiracy, terrorism and drug smuggling operations are carried out.

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