New Delhi, [India] Dec 9 (ANI): In a fresh impetus to bilateral maritime security co-operation, Indian and Russia navy warships on Sunday began a four-day long exercise called ‘INDRA NAVY’ in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) ships Varyag, Admiral Panteleyev, and Boris Butoma arrived at Visakhapatnam to participate in 10th edition of exercise ‘INDRA NAVY.’ The bilateral maritime exercise will be conducted at or off Visakhapatnam from December 9 to 16, said the Defence Ministry in a statement.

“The exercise INDRA NAVY-18 will help in strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability and also enable sharing of best practices between both the navies. The exercise will be yet another milestone in fostering maritime security cooperation between the two navies and will serve to reinforce the long-standing bond of friendship between the countries,” said the statement.

“The primary aim of the exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the two navies, develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations,” said the Defence Ministry in the statement, adding the exercise ‘INDRA NAVY’ was initiated by the two countries in 2003, which has “matured over the years with an increase in scope, complexity, and level of participation.”

The exercise would be held in two phases. The Harbour Phase, that will encompass planning conferences, professional interactions, cultural visits, sports fixtures and formal calls between flag officers and senior officers of participating navies, will be held at Visakhapatnam from December 9 to 12.

“The Sea Phase will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal from December 13 to 16. The thrust of exercises at sea would be on anti-submarine warfare (ASW), air defence drills, surface firings, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) operations and tactical procedures,” the Ministry further informed in the statement.

During exercise INDRA NAVY-18, the Indian Navy will be represented by INS Ranvir, a guided missile destroyer, INS Satpura, an indigenous frigate, INS Kadmatt, an indigenous anti-submarine warfare corvette, INS Kuthar and Khanjar, both indigenous missile corvettes, and INS Jyoti, a fleet tanker.

In addition, one Sindhughosh class submarine, Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, Hawk fighter aircraft, and other integral rotary wing helicopters would be taking part in the exercise. Indian Navy ships participating in the exercise would be under the Command of Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet and the Ships of RuFN would be under the Command of Rear Admiral Mikhailov Edward Evgenievich, Chief of the Headquarters, Submarine Forces, Pacific Fleet and ships from the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok.

It is worth mentioning that Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had visited Russia from November 26 to 29 to consolidate bilateral defence relations between the two countries and to explore new avenues for defence cooperation. The Indian Navy interacts with RuFN on many fronts, which include operational interactions, training, hydrographic co-operation and exchange of subject matter experts in various fields through the medium of Navy-to-Navy staff talks. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.