New Delhi: India will for the first time host a joint tri-service military exercise with Russia from December 10 to 19, defence sources said on Saturday.

The 10-day bilateral joint services exercise ''Indra-2019'' will witness company-sized mechanised contingents, fighter and transport aircraft as well as ships of the two armies, air forces and navies.

"It would involve eight tactical episodes involving the ground forces of both countries," said Indian Army sources.

''Indra-2019'' is expected to enhance interoperability between both national armed forces to jointly undertake operations under the UN flag. "In light of the threat of global terrorism faced by both nations and by countries around the world the theme of the exercise is contemporary and relevant," said the sources.

In preparation of this exercise a joint planning meeting was held from November 7 to 10 in two phases. Phase I of the meeting was conducted on November 7 and November 8 at respective service locations of Babina, Pune and Goa to discuss service-specific modalities. This was followed by the second phase which is being held at New Delhi and will last till November 10.

These meetings are being held to fine tune joint services for smooth execution of the exercises.

Both India and Russia have strong cooperation in military and military-technical fields, which is the main pillar of their bilateral special and privileged strategic partnership. Russia has been one of India''s key major suppliers of arms and ammunition.

Also Defence Minister Rajnath Singh co-chaired the 19th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation at Moscow from November 5 - 6. His Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu also chaired the meeting.

Also Russia has expressed strong support to India in the field of counter-terrorism and stated that it accords priority to New Delhi''s security interests in the region.