VISAKHAPATNAM, December 9. /TASS/. Russia and India plan to conduct the Indra joint drills that will involve several branches of the armed forces — the ground troops, the Air Force and the Navy — in summer 2016 for the first time, chief of the international military cooperation department of Russia’s Eastern Military District Dmitry Smirnov told TASS on Wednesday.
"In August, the Indra naval exercises are planned in the Sea of Japan in the Peter the Great Bay, the Indra manoeuvres of the ground troops at the Sergeyevsky range in the Primorsky territory and the Indra air exercises," he said, adding that the date of the manoeuvres would be agreed additionally.
The Indra exercise will have two stages: "The second stage will be conducted in India in 2016, most likely in November," Smirnov said.
The eighth Russian-Indian military exercise Indra is currently conducted in the city of Visakhapatnam in India.
Exercise Indra 2015 started on December 7 and will end on December 12. At present, the onshore phase is underway, with boarding teams having completed a combined training session onboard the Boris Butoma and Shakti tankers. The active phase of the exercise is planned for December 10-12 in the Bay of Bengal. It will include the practicing of antisubmarine operations and a live-fire exercise involving surface and aerial targets. The scenario also provides for assault teams supported by helicopters to reclaim a ship seized by simulated terrorists.
The Indian Navy has furnished the Shivalik-class Sahyadri multirole frigate, Soviet-built Project 61-ME Nadyozhny-class Ranvir destroyer, Shakti tanker carrying the combined exercise-directing staff, Project 877EKM Sindhuvir diesel-electric submarine, a Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol plane, a Dornier Do-228 coast guard plane, two BAE Systems Hawk Mk132 trainers and several helicopters for the exercise.
The Russian Navy has dispatched the Project 1164 (NATO reporting name: Slava-class) Varyag guided missile cruiser, Project 956 (Sovremenny-class) Bystry destroyer, Boris Butoma oceangoing tanker and Alatau rescue tug to participate in Indra 2015.
The city of Vishakhapatnam is in the state of Andhra Pradesh in the southeast of India. The Indian Navy’s Eastern Naval Command is headquartered there.