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INDIA, RUSSIA TO HOLD NAVAL DRILLS IN ANDAMAN SEA

Focus: GS-III Internal Security Challenges, GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Amid high operational alert by the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) due to the ongoing standoff with China in Ladakh, India and Russia are scheduled to hold the bilateral naval exercise, Indra 2020, in the Andaman Sea, close to the strategic Strait of Malacca.

Details

  • This is the first bilateral naval exercise since all such engagements were suspended due to COVID-19.
  • The timing of the exercise coincides with Indian Defence Minister’s visit to Russia for the Shanghai Cooperation organisation (SCO) defence ministers meet and also comes just after India withdrew from the Kavkaz-2020 multinational exercise in Russia.
  • While the stated reason for the withdrawal was the COVID-19 pandemic, defence sources had said that it due to the participation of Chinese troops.

Exercise “Indra”

  • It is a joint, tri-services exercise between India and Russia
  • This series of exercise began in 2003 and the First joint Tri-Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
  • Company sized mechanized contingents, fighter and transport aircraft, as well as ships of respective Army, Air Force and Navy, participate in this exercise of ten days duration.

Recently in news: Exercise with USS Nimitz

  • In July, frontline warships of the Indian Navy conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the U.S. aircraft carrier with USS Nimitz strike group in the same area near the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) islands as it was transiting the Indian Ocean.
  • The USS Nimitz was returning from the South China Sea through the Malacca Strait where it undertook freedom of navigation operations.
  • With ongoing tensions, Indian Navy is keeping a close watch on movement in the IOR of Chinese Naval ships whose presence has gone up considerably over the years in the name of Anti-Piracy patrols.

Recently in news: Major Infrastructure plans in Andaman and Nicobar

  • In 2017, China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
  • Given their strategic location, India has embarked on a major infrastructure expansion plan on the A&N island chain.

-Source: The Hindu

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