The 12th edition of Indo-Russia joint military exercise INDRA 2021 will be held this year at Volgograd, Russia from 1 to 13 August. The exercise will entail conducting counter-terror operations under the United Nations(UN) mandate by a joint force against international terror groups.
The exercise will involve 250 personnel from both countries. The Indian Army contingent, which included a Mechanized Infantry Battalion, underwent rigorous training at various places across India in preparation for the joint exercise.
Exercise INDRA-21 will build mutual confidence and interoperability between both Armies, as well as allow for the exchange of best practices. The exercise will mark yet another milestone in enhancing security cooperation and would contribute to deepen India- Russia long-standing bond of friendship.
The first-ever tri-services exercise –‘INDRA 2017’ took place in Vladivostok from October 19 – 29 in 2017. From December 13-16, the bilateral Russian-Indian naval exercise Indra Navy-2018 was held in the Bay of Bengal.
From the 8th to the 19th of December 2019, India and Russia conducted a joint tri-services exercise called ‘INDRA 2019′ at Babina, Pune, and Goa. Representatives from the Indian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation’s Eastern Command took part in the exercises, which aimed to increase field, marine, and flight skills as well as improve collaboration between both nations.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Moscow
Last year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in his successful visit to Russia reviewed India-Russia defence cooperation with Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Yury Borisov, in Moscow. The discussions on regional issues and bilateral cooperation proved very productive.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Defence Minister stated that India-Russia bilateral relations are keeping good interactions at various levels. India and Russia have a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, with the defence connection being one of the key pillars.
India has a longstanding and successful relationship with Russia as India’s foreign policy has always prioritized the development of India-Russia relations. India-Russia ties have taken on a qualitatively new character since the signing of the “Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership” in October 2000 (during President Putin’s visit), with enhanced levels of cooperation in almost all areas of the bilateral relationship, including politics, defence, security, science and technology, trade and economy, and culture etc.
Several formalized discussion channels operate at both the political and official levels under the Strategic Partnership to enable regular interaction and follow-up on cooperation activities. The strategic partnership was elevated to the level of a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India in 2010.
Defence and Security Cooperation
In the realm of defence, India and Russia have a long and wide-ranging cooperation. Technological cooperation between India and Russia progressed from a buyer-seller framework to one that involves collaborative research, development, and manufacturing of modern defence technologies and systems.
Examples of flagship cooperation include the BrahMos Missile System and the licenced production of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks in India. In September 2019, during the 20th Annual Bilateral Summit in Vladivostok, an agreement on cooperation in the production of spare parts for Russian/Soviet military equipment was inked.
Both sides reached agreements on the supply of S-400 air defence systems, the construction of frigates under Project 1135.6, and the development of joint ventures to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters in India during the 17th Annual Summit. In 2019, PM Narendra Modi in Amethi announced that the JV – Indo-Russian Rifles plant will produce AK Series Assault Rifles at Ordnance Factory in Korwa under the Make-in-India program.
India-Russia joint collaboration in R&D
In collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Russian Federation’s Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE), the Department of Science and Technology launched the India-Russia joint technology assessment and accelerated commercialization programme last year. The programme will connect Indian, and Russian Science & Technology (S&T) led SMEs and start-ups for joint R&D for technology development and for cross-country technology adaptation.