India, Russia to Hold Joint Naval Exercise

The joint Indo-Russian naval drill is scheduled to kick off on December 14.

India, Russia to Hold Joint Naval Exercise
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Anir1uph

The Indian Navy and Russian Navy will hold a joint naval drill, dubbed Indra Navy 2016, from December 14 to December 21 in the Indian port of Visakhapatnam and the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced in a December 13 press release. It is the ninth iteration of the joint naval exercise.

India and Russia have been engaged in joint naval drills since 2003. “Indra Navy is a bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian and Russian navies and epitomizes the strategic relationship between the two countries,” the MoD press release notes.

The main objective of this year’s exercise is to enhance inter-operability between the two navies and to develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.

Indra Navy 2016 will be divided up into two parts.

The coastal part will be held on December 14-18 in the city of Visakhapatnam, which will include “table-top exercises, planning conferences, and professional interactions prior progressing to sea,” according to the Indian MoD. The naval part of the exercise will take place in the Bay of Bengal on December 19-21 and focus on anti-submarine warfare, air defense drills, surface firings, and conduct board search and seizure operations as well as tactical procedures.

Indian Navy assets participating in the exercise will include the Rajput-class guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvir, the Shivalik-class stealth multi-role frigate INS Satpura, and the INS Kamorta, the lead ship of a class of four anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvettes. Furthermore, the Indian Navy will dispatch an unidentified submarine,  as well as “P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Dornier Short Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer, and other integral rotary wing helicopters” to take part in the bilateral exercise.

On the Russian side, elements of Russia’s Pacific Fleet will participate in the drill. Ships will include the Admiral Tributs, a 6,930-ton Project 1155 Udaloy I-class anti-submarine warfare destroyer originally built for the Soviet Navy. The destroyer, among other things, boasts anti-ship capabilities including the infamous P-270 Moskit supersonic ramjet powered anti-ship missile (NATO reporting name: SS-N-22 Sunburn). In addition, a Project 956 Sovremennyy-class destroyer, an anti-surface warship, a sea tug, and the Boris Chilikin-class fleet replenishment oiler Boris Butoma will take part. Russia has also dispatched a Ka-27 ASW helicopter.

“The squadron of the Pacific Fleet warship is heading to the Indian Eastern Fleet’s base in the city of Visakhapatnam under the command of Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, the commander of the Maritime all-arms forces flotilla. The ships are to reach the destination on December 14,” a Russian military spokesperson told TASS news agency on December 12. The squadron departed its home port in the middle of October and over the last couple of weeks has made port calls in Indonesia and Thailand.