Admiral Panteleyev destroyer of the Russian Navy

VIZAG: Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) ships Varyag, Admiral Panteleyev and Boris Butoma arrived in Visakhapatnam Sunday to participate in INDRA NAVY-18, the bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Russian Federation Navy.

The tenth edition of exercise INDRA NAVY will be conducted off Visakhapatnam from December 9-16, an Indian Navy release from the Eastern Naval Command headquarters here said.

The primary aim of the exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the two navies, develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.

Initiated in 2003, the INDRA NAVY exercise has matured over the years with the increase in scope, complexity and level of participation, the release said.

The INDRA NAVY exercise would be held in two phases this time.

The Harbour Phase would be held at Visakhapatnam from December 9-12 and encompass planning conferences, professional interactions, cultural visits, sports fixtures and formal calls between Flag Officers and senior officers of the participating navies.

The Sea Phase of the exercise would be conducted in the Bay of Bengal from December 13-16, it stated.

"Thrust of the 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", said the release.

At INDRA NAVY-18, the Indian Navy would be represented by INS Ranvir, a guided missile destroyer, INS Satpura, an indigenous frigate, INS Kadmatt, an indigenous anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette, IN Ships Kuthar and Khanjar both indigenous missile corvettes and INS Jyoti, a fleet tanker, the Navy said.

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.

The Indian Navy ships would be under the command of Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet, it said.

Ships of the Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) would be commanded by Rear Admiral Mikhailov Edward Evgenievich, Chief of Headquarters, Submarine Forces, Pacific Fleet, and ships from the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok.

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba visited Russia from November 26-29 to consolidate bilateral defence relations and explore new avenues for defence cooperation, the release said.

The Indian Navy interacts with Russian Federation Navy on many fronts, which include operational interactions, training, hydro-graphic cooperation and exchange of subject matter experts in various fields through the medium of Navy-to-Navy Staff Talks.

Exercise INDRA NAVY-18 would help further strengthen mutual confidence and interoperability and also enable sharing of best practices between both the navies, it said.

The exercise will be yet another milestone in strengthening maritime security cooperation between the two navies and will serve to reinforce the long-standing bond of friendship between the countries, the Indian Navy said.