The exercises are taking place at the Mahajan firing range just north of the city of Bikaner and began on November 7 and will run till November 20, India’s Defence Ministry said in a press release. The city of Mahajan is not far from India’s border with neighbouring Pakistan and ties between the two countries have not been exactly good in recent months, with several ceasefire violations and civilian deaths on the Pakistan side by Indian army shelling along the Line of Control and Working Boundary.
The location of the Indra 2015 joint military exercises between India and Russian in the city of Mahajan in Rajasthan, not far from the border with Pakistan
A contingent of 250 Russian soldiers arrived at Bikaner on November 7, according to a Tweet by the spokesman of India’s Defence Ministry.
The exercises will focus on ‘Counter Terrorism Operations in Desert Terrain under a United Nations Mandate,’ the ministry’s press release said. “The drills are due to be conducted in two stages, namely ‘Combat Conditioning’ and ‘Tactical Training and Validation’,” according to the press release.
On November 9, the exercise was addressed by Maj Gen Sergey N Legotin, Commander, Independent Motorised Brigade of the Russian Army.
Last week, a Pakistani journalist had asked the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman during the weekly press briefing what was Pakistan’s response to the holding of these joint exercises close to its border and the reply was that an agreement existed under which either neighbour informed the other of such events in advance.
The exercises are the latest in a series of joint drills conducted by India and Russia. However, they come at a time also of thawing ties between Islamabad and Moscow, reflected in the latter’s willingness to sell it military hardware.