#PutinAtWar: India and Russia Exercise in the East

A brief look into the biggest Russian-Indian military exercise

(Source: VK)

An odd military friendship between India and Russia is gaining speed. This October, the first ever Indo-Russian bilateral military drill involving personnel from all three service branches started in Primorsky Krai, Russia. On October 20th, both the Indian and Russian Ministries of Defense posted official statements to mark the opening ceremony of the Indra-2017 in Vladivostok, Russia.

The opening ceremony at the beginning of 10-day exercise was full of pomp and circumstance. Soldiers from both countries marched, jet-fighters flew by, and a display of traditional Indian martial arts was observed.

The location of the opening ceremony in Amur Bay sea zone near Vladivostok, Russia. (Source: GoogleMaps)
The location of the opening ceremony. Sources clockwise from top left. (Source: VK); ( Source: VK); (Source: GoogleMaps)
The location of the opening ceremony. Sources clockwise from top left. (Source: GoogleMaps); (Source: VK); (Source: Russian Ministry of Defense); (Source: VK); (Source: Russian Ministry of Defense)

Indra is an annual Indo-Russian exercise, occuring every year since it began in 2003, but this year the scope drastically increased. The Indian Army, Navy and Air Force have held separate bilateral exercises with their Russian counterparts. This year marks the first time the two countries are carrying out an exercise with all three branches at once. According to the Indian Ministry of Defense, this exercise demonstrates increasing commitment and cooperation between two countries.

“The joint tri-service exercise will be a demonstration of the increasing commitment of both nations to address common challenges across the full spectrum of operations.”

During the opening speech, Lieutenant General Sergey Solomatin and Major General Nudurupati Durga Prasad expressed confidence Indra-2017 will gradually strengthen the Russian-Indian mutual cooperation.

The Indian contingent was expected to include nearly 450 personnel, while the Russian military included 1,000 troops for the 10-day exercise. The first open source information from the exercise was posted by the soldiers.

(Source: VK)
(Source: VK)
(Source: VK)

The official statements of both Russia and India signal this year might be a turning point for Indo-Russian military cooperation. The development remains significant givenIndia is also keen to maintain the military cooperation with the United States.

Indra-2017 exercise is expected to end on September 30th. @DFRLab will continue to monitor the exercise and publish in-depth analysis.

Lukas Andriukaitis is a Digital Forensic Research Associate at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (@DFRLab).

Follow along for more in-depth analysis from our #DigitalSherlocks.