Indian Army commenced a Joint INDO-RUSSIAN military exercise called “EXERCISE INDRA 2013″ on 19 Oct 2013, at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges, Rajasthan. The aim of the exercise was to improve bilateral defense cooperation between both the armies and enhance the ability to operate as an integrated force for Peace Keeping Operations within the framework of the United Nations. Mahajan Field Firing Ranges under aegis of South Western Comd has a world class training infrastructure developed in last 2-3 years which is also utilised for carrying out Joint International Exercises with friendly foreign countries.
During EXERCISE INDRA, Mechanised forces of both India and Russia carried out joint planning, exchange of ideas and procedures and joint execution of plans which involved live firing with specialist weapons, BMPs and tanks. The joint planning exercise encompassed terrain evaluation, intelligence collation and planning the conduct of operations to improve interoperability & joint functionality.
As a prelude to the exercise, experienced military speakers and participants shared their thought process based on experience gained in these fields while operating in different regions of the world. Both the armies employed state of the art equipment for surveillance, target acquisition, medical evacuation and treatment.
The exercise entered its second phase on 22 Oct 2013 with exercise ‘VINDHURAL’, which encompassed Search & Destroy Operations by both the armies. Exercise ‘GANGNEVA’ (name derived from the river Ganga and river Neva in Russia) was conducted from 24-25 October 2013 and involved live firing by tanks and BMPs of both the countries. In this exercise both the Indian and Russian mechanized troops captured a notional rebel strong point by an impressive fire and assault of tanks, BMPs and Attack helicopters followed by dismounted action by infantry on the objective. Small teams of Indian Special Forces were inserted near the objective and later extricated using helicopters. The joint exercise was witnessed by senior officers of both the armies.
The consolidation phase of the exercise comprised of a Ceremonial Parade followed by a cultural interaction between the two contingents.
Exercise INDRA has provided an excellent opportunity to both the countries to enhance their ability to function as an integrated force.