India and Russia will hold the eleventh iteration of their bilateral military exercise, designated Indra-2019, in December of this year. The exercise will principally take place at a training ground in India. According to the press office of Russia’s Eastern Military District cited in a TASS news agency report, Indra-2019 will involve eight tactical episodes involving the ground forces of both countries.
“At the first conference for planning, which came to an end in the city of Ussuriysk (the Primorye Region), representatives of the command of the Eastern Military District and the Armed Forces of the Republic of India agreed the goals of the upcoming Indra-2019 Russian-Indian joint military exercise,” the press release notes.
“The sides agreed that the drills would practice the issues of training military command centers in exercising command and control of all-arms forces for solving joint tasks… About eight tactical episodes have been mapped out for the ground-based grouping of forces,” it added.
Other parts of the exercise, including air and naval drills, will also take place on Indian territory.
The Russian military is expected to dispatch around 300 ground troops from motorized infantry units. It has not revealed yet what and how may aircraft and warships will participate in the exercise.
The Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has so far not announced any troop numbers or other military assets to take part in the Indo-Russian drills.
In 2018, land component of the exercise took place at India’s Babina Military Station, near Jhansi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It reportedly involved 14 T-90 tanks, 14 BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 troops on the Russian side, according to the Russian MoD, while India did not reveal the assets involved.
“The aim of the exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct to enhance interoperability of the two armies in the peace keeping and enforcement environment under the aegis of United Nations,” an Indian Ministry of Defense statement noted at the time.
The naval part of the exercise, dubbed Indra Navy, took place in the Bay of Bengal last year. The Indian Navy dispatched the “INS Ranvir, a guided missile destroyer, INS Satpura, an indigenous frigate, INS Kadmatt, an indigenous anti- submarine warfare (ASW) corvette, IN Ships Kuthar and Khanjarboth indigenous missile corvettes and INS Jyoti, a fleet tanker” to the exercise, according to an Indian MoD press release.
The Russian Navy in turn, sent the flagship of its Pacific Fleet, the Slava-class guided missile cruiser, Varyag, as well as the Admiral Panteleyev, an Udaloy-class anti-submarine warfare ship, and the sea tanker, Boris Butoma. The principal aim of the naval exercise was to increase interoperability amongst the two navies.