The 11th edition of Ex-INDRA NAVY, a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between Indian and Russian Navy is now underway at the Bay of Bengal.
Instigated back in 2003, Ex-INDRA NAVY epitomizes the long-term strategic relationship between the two Navies. Whilst the exercise is being undertaken in the Bay of Bengal between 04 to 05 September 2020, Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister of India, is on a visit to Moscow from 03 September 2020 on the invitation of Defence Minister of the Russian Federation, General Sergei Shoigu to discuss bilateral cooperation and issues of mutual interest and commemoration of the 75th anniversary of victory in World War II.
EX-INDRA has matured over the years with an increase in scope, the complexity of operations, and level of participation. The primary aim of the exercise is to further consolidate interoperability built up by the two Navies over the years and to enhance understanding and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations.
The scope of this year’s edition includes wide-ranging and diverse activities across the spectrum of maritime operations. Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, INDRA NAVY-20 would be undertaken in a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ format.
The Indian Navy will be represented by guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvijay, indigenous frigate INS Sahyadri and fleet tanker INS Shakti, along with their integral helicopters. INS Sahyadri has been presently redeployed to aid MT New Diamond incident, which has caught fire off the coastline of Sri Lanka.
The Russian Federation Navy will be represented by destroyer Admiral Vinogradov, destroyer Admiral Tributs and fleet tanker Boris Butoma of the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok.
The exercise is aimed at enhancing interoperability, improving understanding, and imbibing best practices between the two navies, and would involve surface and anti-aircraft drills, firing exercises, helicopter operations, seamanship evolutions etc.
Exercise INDRA NAVY-20 will help to further boost mutual confidence and cooperation between the two Navies and would reinforce the long-standing bond of friendship between the two nations. The last edition of EX-INDRA was conducted off Visakhapatnam in December 2018.
(The writer is a Delhi-based independent contributor to print and online publications)