India, Russia Holding Joint Naval Exercise

India and Russia are holding ‘Indra Navy-16’ – the annual bilateral joint naval exercise – in the Bay of Bengal.
The Indian Navy has confirmed the news, saying in a statement that three Indian and four Russian vessels are taking part in the December 14-21 event. “The primary aim of Indra Navy-16 is to increase inter-operability between the two Navies and develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations,” added the statement.
While INS Ranvir, a guided missile destroyer, INS Satpura, an indigenous frigate, and INS Kamorta, an indigenous anti-submarine warfare corvette, represented the Indian Navy, the Russian Navy is represented by Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhalov, Deputy Chief of Flotilla (Pacific Fleet), cruiser Admiral Tributus and fleet tanker Boris Butoma. Sputnik reported that around 500 Russian servicemen arrived in India on Tuesday to participate in the drills this year.
A senior Indian Navy officer said that joint exercise has allowed naval forces of the two countries to conduct wide-ranging professional interactions in harbour phase, apart from experiencing diverse canvas of operational activities across a spectrum of maritime operations at sea.
The officer explained that the exercise have two phases – the Harbour Phase (from December 14 to 18) at Visakhapatnam and the Sea Phase (from December 19 to 21) off Visakhapatnam coast. The Harbour Phase is concentrating mainly on encompass table-top exercises, planning conferences and professional interactions prior to progressing to sea. During the sea exercises, anti-submarine warfare, air defence drills, surface firings, visit board search and seizure and tactical procedures will take place.
Meanwhile, a Russian Navy official expressed hope that the ongoing exercise would help Indian and Russian Navies strengthen mutual confidence and inter-operability. He described the exercise as a milestone in strengthening maritime security co-operation between the two Navies, saying that the event would serve to reinforce the longstanding bond of friendship between the two friendly nations.
Initiated in 2003, the ‘Indra Navy’ joint exercise epitomises the strong long-term bilateral strategic relationship. The event has matured over the years with increase in scope, complexity of operations and level of participation.

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