Russia, India to hold joint naval drills in January

November 20th, 2008 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Vladivostok, Nov 20 (RIA Novosti) Russia and India will conduct joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean in January, a spokesman for Russia’s Pacific Fleet said Thursday. The biennial Russian-Indian exercise codenamed Indra aimed at practising cooperative engagement to enforce maritime law and counter piracy, terrorism, and drug smuggling. It is the fourth such exercise since 2003.

“A task force from the Pacific Fleet, led by the Varyag missile cruiser, will leave Vladivostok in December and set sail for the Indian Ocean to participate in joint drills with the Indian navy,” Captain 1st Rank Roman Martov said.

He said that the task force will also conduct joint exercises with a task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet, led by the Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser, which will arrive in the Indian Ocean after joint drills with the Venezuelan Navy in late November.

“Following the exercises, the Russian warships will pay friendly visits to several ports in India and China,” the spokesman said.

Martov also cited Vice Admiral Konstantin Sidenko, commander of the Pacific Fleet, as saying that Russian warships from the fleet will make several long-range training sorties in the South Pacific and Indian oceans in 2009, and participate in a number of exercises involving live-firing drills.

Russia announced last year that its navy would build up a constant presence in different regions of the world’s oceans.

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