India and Russia have had longstanding military and diplomatic ties and to preserve these bonds of cooperation, India and Russia undertake annual military exercise INDRA. This milestone in military cooperation of the two nations epitomizes their strong and resilient relations. INDRA-2017 is the first tri-services bilateral exercise between the two countries.
On October 18, 2017, Indian contingent flew in IL-76 aircraft of the Indian Air Force to Vladivostok comprising of Army and Air Force personnel. The contingent, led by the Task Force Commander, Maj Gen ND Prasad was accorded a warm welcome by Commander of the Fifth Army of Russian Eastern Military District, Maj Gen Kutuzov.
On October 19, 2017, two indigenously built Indian Naval ships INS Satpura and INS Kadmatt arrived at Vladivostok Port and were given a traditional ceremonial welcome. Rear Admiral Anatoliy Zelinsky, Deputy Commander, Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy was present on the occasion.
The delegation led by Maj Gen ND Prasad, Task Force Commander called on Mr Alexey Litvinov, the acting Mayor of Vladivostok. Also, the Naval Component Commander Rear Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta interacted with Admiral Sergei Avakyants, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Pacific Fleet in a warm and cordial atmosphere.
An observer delegation led by Lt Gen JS Negi along with Air Vice Marshal VR Chaudhari and Rear Admiral V Sreenivas visited the 249 Sergeyvsky Training Ranges where a major part of the Army and Air Force component of tri-services Exercise INDRA-2017 is being conducted.
In the final phase of Exercise INDRA-2017 the Task Force comprising of Armoured, Mechanised Infantry and Infantry elements, ably supported by Fighter Aircrafts and Armed Helicopters successfully extricated 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 aimed 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 Aircrafts and Armed Helicopters pulverized the target in an exceptional display of firepower while Artillery elements comprising of 122mm GRAD and howitzers further softened the target. Armoured 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.
The last drill of Exercise Indra 2017 was carried out on October 28, 2017 when the amphibious landing took place wherein landing of ground forces at Cape of Klerk training area was undertaken by Indian and Russian Naval Elements with Air Support.
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 was undertaken and also provided Air Support for amphibious landing mission.
After intense and exacting military training, the joint exercise concluded with a closing ceremony on October 29, 2017 wherein both the contingents showcased their immense talents with unique traditional touches. The grand closing ceremony at Vladivostok which comprised of personnel of both contingents was witnessed by senior officials and dignitaries of both countries including the Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation Shri 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 IAF IL-76 aircraft.
In the joint tactical exercise which began on 19 October 2017, the two countries conducted training focused on combating terrorism. In the series of bilateral exercises under this banner, the exercise this year focused on conduct of counter insurgency / counter terrorist operations under United Nations mandate in a joint service environment. The exercise also provided an opportunity to both the armies for greater cultural understanding, sharing experiences and strengthening mutual trust and co-operation.