Russian-Indian military exercise begins
Hot on the heels of Russia’s recent military exercise with China (see here for details) 1,600 Russian troops, 9 airplanes and 5 warships are taking part in a military exercise with India.
The exercise, which will run for 10 days from October 10th, is based around a counter terrorism scenario, says Indian newspaper New Kerala, and also aims to improve “interoperability” between Russian and Indian forces in preparation for possible future joint peacekeeping missions.
During the simulated war games in Rajasthan, Russian and Indian paratroopers will land in an area occupied by “illegal armed groups” and neutralise “terrorist training bases” and free “hostages” held at a camp.
The training will include the para-dropping of armoured vehicles, anti-tank guided missiles and artillery.
As Taiwan is out of the occasion, this exercise is rather less provocative than the recent exercise with China, which caused some concern in the West. It won’t pass entirely without causing offence though, I’d imagine – Pakistan will no doubt be watching events closely. In particular, they will probably be worried that if India develops an increased counter-terrorism expertise it could affect Pakistan’s future ability to influence events in Kashmir.
New Kerala goes on to note that this week’s exercise, much like the recent exercise in China, is largely designed to showcase Russian arms:
The Russian paratroopers will be equipped with the latest arms in a bid to showcase the equipment for the Indian Army’s top brass. Russian forces will field specialised anti-terror weapons like sniper guns, anti-material rifles and long distance specialised rockets.
I’d imagine that it is this possibility which worries Pakistan the most. And, following a nuclear standoff between the two countries a few years back, the inclusion of a Russian nuclear submarine in the naval component of the exercise probably won’t do much to ease their concerns…