Oct 25, 2013, 12:29 AM
News Code: 80873530
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India, Russia troops engage in war games in Rajasthan

New Delhi, Oct 24, IRNA -- Troops of India and Russia are engaging each other in war games codenamed exercise 'Indra' at the Mahajan range under scenarios and situations resembling South Sudan where Indian troops are presently deployed as part of UN peacekeeping mission and face similar challenges.

Over 250 troops of both sides are engaged in this field exercise.

The joint field exercise between troops of the two countries began on October 22 in Bikaner in Rajasthan state and plans to carry out an anti-terrorist operation, involving the destruction of illegal armed formations. Russian troops will be using Indian military equipments, including the T-72 and BMP-2.

'The essence of the exercise was under the UN peacekeeping environment. When we thought about this exercise, it was something akin to South Sudan which is where we are still operating,' pti quoted Brig VM Chandran, commander of the 6th Independent Armoured Brigade as saying. Elaborating about the current terrain, he said the Chidasa village here was made to resemble places in South Sudan.

'This village has always been used for such exercises and we planned and constructed the houses in such a way that it’s akin to buildings of South Sudan,' he said.

In April, a Lt Colonel was among the five army personnel killed when their 32-member convoy came under attack in Gurmuck in the volatile state of Jonglei, South Sudan. Four others were injured in the attack.

There are around 2,200 Indian army personnel operating in Sudan.

As part of the joint military drill, the two sides will engage themselves in Exercise Gangnega tomorrow which will for the first time have both the troops mixed together doing joint operations, live firing exercises and consolidation.

'This is the first time that troops of both the countries will be mixed together to conduct operations. Here is where joint manship and integration comes that an Indian Commander should be able to give orders to his Russian teammate who is taking part in this exercise and the same way a Russian Commander should be able to give orders,' Brig Chandran said.

The joint military drill has already witnessed Exercise Vidhural wherein troops of both the nations were engaged in combat shooting and clearing villages and capturing the assumed rebels.

This exercise assumes significance in wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Moscow where both nations called for joint action against terrorism.

Apart from this, Brig Chandran said the army plans to develop the Mahajan Field Firing range where the current joint operation is going on on a world class level.

He said the range will be developed not only as a firing range but also as a place for firing exercises and training purposes as well, and the army has been undertaking this activity for the past two years.