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Russia-India joint military exercises underway in Rajasthan — not far from Pak border

Two week-long joint military exercises ‘Indra 2015’ between the Indian and Russian armies is currently underway in the Indian state of Rajasthan, which borders neighbouring Pakistan.

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.

Indra 2015

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.

Indra 2015

Russian soldiers arrive in the city of Bikaner in Rajasthan before the start of the Indra 2015 joint military exercise

Indra 2015

Russian soldiers arrive in the Indian city of Bikaner before the start of Indra 2015

 

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.

Indra 2015

Maj Gen Sergey N Legotin, Commander, Independent Motorised Brigade of the Russian Army addressing troops taking part in Indra 2015

Indra 2015

Maj Gen Sergey N Legotin, Commander, Independent Motorised Brigade of the Russian Army takes a guard of honour from troops taking part in Indra 2015

 

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.

 

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