Dornier aircraft
A Dornier aircraft of the Indian Navy. [Representational Image]IANS

The eighth edition of INDRA NAVY — a bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian and Russian Navies that began in 2003 — commenced in the Bay of Bengal on Monday, 7 December.

An official statement from the Defence Ministry said the primary aim of this six-day exercise is to increase interoperability between the two navies and develop common understanding of procedures for maritime security operations.

The scope of INDRA NAVY 15 includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase and a diverse canvas of operational activities at sea across a spectrum of maritime operations, added the statement.

The exercise will progress in two phases: The Harbour Phase (7-9 December) at Visakhapatnam and the Sea Phase (10-12 December) off Visakhapatnam.

The Harbour Phase will focus on tabletop exercises and planning conferences ashore. The Sea Phase will include various facets of fleet operations.

Indian Navy will be represented by indigenous frigate INS Sahyadri, guided missile destroyer INS Ranvijay and Fleet Support Ship INS Shakti.

Submarine INS Sindhuvir, the P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Dornier Short Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer and other integral rotary-wing helicopters are lso scheduled to participate in the bilateral exercise, said the statement from the Defence Ministry.

The Russian Federation Navy (RFN) will be represented by Vadm Ryabukhin Andrey, Deputy Commander of the Pacific Fleet, and ships from the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok.

RFN ships Varyag (cruiser), Bystry (destroyer), Alatau (rescue ocean going tug) and Boris Butoma (fleet tanker) arrived at Visakhapatnam on Sunday, 6 December, to participate in the bilateral maritime exercise.

Indian Navy conducts bilateral exercises with counterparts from several countries. Besides INDRA with Russia, it undertakes maritime exercises named VARUNA with the French Navy, Konkan with the Royal Navy (of the United Kingdom), Malabar with the US Navy, Simbex with the Republic of Singapore Navy and IBSAMAR with the Brazil and South African navies.