Ex­er­cise In­dra-2017 Con­cludes

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THE INDO-RUS­SIAN DE­FENCE CO­OP­ER­A­TION re­ceived a ma­jor in­spi­ra­tion with Ex­er­cise In­dra2017, the first ever tri-ser­vices joint ex­er­cise be­tween In­dian and Rus­sian Armed Forces which was con­ducted in the Eastern Mil­i­tary Dis­trict of Rus­sia from Oc­to­ber 19 to 29, 2017. Ex­er­cise In­dra in its pre­vi­ous nine avatars has been con­ducted as a sin­gle ser­vice ex­er­cise al­ter­nately be­tween the two coun­tries. The year 2017 marks a ma­jor mile­stone as this ex­er­cise has been up­graded to in­volve all the three ser­vices of the armed forces (Army, Navy and Air Force), which fur­ther ac­cen­tu­ates the im­por­tance of joint ser­vices in the present world en­vi­ron­ment.

Ex­er­cise In­dra 2017, the first tri-ser­vice ex­er­cise be­tween In­dia and Rus­sia, in its fi­nal phase, showed the Task Force com­pris­ing of ar­moured, mech­a­nised in­fantry and in­fantry el­e­ments, ably sup­ported by fighter air­crafts and armed heli­copters suc­cess­fully ex­tri­cat­ing a hu­man­i­tar­ian aid con­voy from a ter­ror­ist at­tack. A ter­ror­ist at­tack on a hu­man­i­tar­ian aid con­voy was sim­u­lated as per the ex­er­cise set­ting. The hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance was de­picted for trapped civil­ians in a counter in­sur­gency en­vi­ron­ment un­der UN man­date. The at­tack tested the re­sponse mech­a­nism of the com­bined task force of In­dian and Rus­sian de­fence forces. The ter­ror­ists were suc­cess­fully iso­lated and the hu­man­i­tar­ian aid con­voy was es­corted to safety. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, fighter air­craft and armed heli­copters pul­ver­ized the tar­get in an ex­cep­tional dis­play of fire­power while ar­tillery el­e­ments com­pris­ing of 122mm, BM21, GRAD and how­itzers fur­ther soft­ened the tar­get. Tanks closed in on the tar­get along with mech­a­nised in­fantry el­e­ments and cor­doned off the en­tire area, and the stage was set for the in­fantry to launch the fi­nal as­sault.

Later, speak­ing to the me­dia, Ma­jor Gen­eral N.D. Prasad, the Task Force Com­man­der of the In­dian con­tin­gent ex­pressed his hap­pi­ness at the pro­fes­sional syn­ergy dis­played dur­ing the en­tire ex­er­cise not only be­tween the air force, navy and the army el­e­ments of the In­dian de­fence forces, but also be­tween the In­dian and Rus­sian de­fence forces, in spite of lan­guage con­straints. He stated that the man­ner in which the ex­er­cise was con­ducted be­tween In­dia and Rus­sia is a re­flec­tion of the high level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism of both sides and that the ex­er­cise has proved to be a great learn­ing ground. Rear Ad­mi­ral Biswa­jit Das­gupta, the Naval Com­po­nent Leader and Air Com­modore R.G.K. Kapoor, the Air Force Com­po­nent Leader re­it­er­ated that the syn­ergy on dis­play be­tween the three ser­vices of both sides has re­in­forced the im­por­tance of tri-ser­vice co­op­er­a­tion and is the har­bin­ger of things to come in fu­ture op­er­a­tions.

The last drill of Ex­er­cise In­dra-2017 was car­ried out on Oc­to­ber 28, 2017 when the am­phibi­ous land­ing took place at Cape of Klerk train­ing area, un­der­taken by In­dian and Rus­sian naval el­e­ments with air sup­port. The ac­tive sea phase of naval com­po­nent com­menced on Oc­to­ber 26 in the Sea of Ja­pan and per­son­nel of both the coun­tries were put through var­i­ous tac­ti­cal and op­er­a­tional ma­noeu­vres. They dis­played high lev­els of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and the ex­er­cise gen­er­ated an out­stand­ing level of pro­fes­sional syn­ergy and un­der­stand­ing of each other’s doc­trines, con­cepts and method­ol­ogy of ex­e­cu­tion of op­er­a­tions.

The Air Force com­po­nent un­der­took var­i­ous prac­tice mis­sions by com­bined Indo-Rus­sian crew in fight­ers, trans­port and heli­copters dur­ing the train­ing phase. Th­ese air­craft formed an in­te­gral part in the Joint Ops that were un­der­taken and also pro­vided air sup­port for the am­phibi­ous land­ing mis­sion.The ex­er­cise cul­mi­nated on 29th Oc­to­ber in a grand clos­ing cer­e­mony which will be held at Vladi­vos­tok.

After in­tense and ex­act­ing mil­i­tary train­ing, the joint ex­er­cise con­cluded with a clos­ing cer­e­mony, wherein both the con­tin­gents show­cased their im­mense tal­ents with unique tra­di­tional touches. It was wit­nessed by se­nior of­fi­cials and dig­ni­taries of both coun­tries in­clud­ing Am­bas­sador of In­dia to the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, Pankaj Saran. Per­son­nel from the In­dian as well as Rus­sian con­tin­gents were awarded medals of ex­cel­lence for their out­stand­ing per­for­mance dur­ing the ex­er­cise. Fight­ers and Heli­copters co-pi­loted by In­dian and Rus­sian pi­lots took part in the fly­past along with an In­dian Air Force Il-76 air­craft.

The ex­er­cise also pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to both the armies for greater cul­tural un­der­stand­ing, shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and strength­en­ing mu­tual trust and co­op­er­a­tion. Par­tic­i­pants from both the armed forces ex­pressed im­mense sat­is­fac­tion at the con­clu­sion of the train­ing, in terms of the stan­dards achieved in the val­i­da­tion phase of the train­ing.


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