As Tensions Between India and China Rise, India and Russia To Hold Mega War Games in October

Here’s some exciting and heart-warming news for ardent followers of geopolitics and foreign affairs, especially those who have been a tad cautious about how India-Russia relations have developed in recent times owing to Russia’s closeness to China.

For the first time ever in the history of relations between India and Russia, the two nations will conduct mega war games in October that will see the involvement of the armies, navies and air forces of both the nations.

As part of exercise Indra, the armed forces of the two nations will get together to deepen coordination between the forces in a tri-services integrated theatre command scenario. The exercise will be held in Russia from October 19 to 29.

This is the first time that India will participate in a tri-services exercises with a foreign nation with a large participation of all the three arms of its forces. The exercise is expected to take place in three locations in Russia including in mountainous Vladivostok region.

A total of 350 Indian Army personnel will participate in the exercise and the contingent will be led by a major-general rank official. The Indian Navy and Air Force will also have sizeable contingents.

When Prime Minister Modi visited Russia in June, the two nations had decided to ‘upgrade and intensify’ defence cooperation through joint manufacture, co-production and co-development of key military hardware and equipment.

It is true that Russia and China have grown close to each other but that is again a relationship of need. It isn’t natural, considering that the two nations even fought a war in 1979.

Russia doesn’t trust China entirely which is a fact we must recognise. Just some time back, Russia placed another regiment of its Iskander missile system on its border with China to strengthen its nuclear & conventional deterrence.

Even though Russia sold China its S-400 Triumf system, it then sold the same to India as well highlighting the fact that it tacitly wants as effective counter to China as well.

The BrahMos supersonic missile is a product of collaboration between India and Russia. It can only be sold to nations that have no issues either with India or Russia. India is in talks to sell it to Vietnam, a nation that has serious issues with a belligerent China. Yet, Russia didn’t oppose this export.

These tri-services war games are a historic step in India-Russia relations and China will definitely have an eye on this especially as it comes during a time when it is facing off against India on the border.

Vinayak Jain