India, Russia To Showcase Their Naval Might In Joint Drills In Baltic Sea

The Russian and Indian navies are likely to conduct joint drills in the Baltic Sea sometime next year, according to Russian news agency TASS.

“During a meeting of the Indian military delegation led by Naval Attache at the Embassy of the Republic of India in Russia Commodore Manish Chadha with Baltic Fleet Commander Admiral Alexander Nosatov, the Indian side expressed its wish to hold joint drills of the fleets of both countries in the Baltic Sea and take part in the events of celebrating Russia’s Navy Day in [July] 2021,” the Baltic Fleet said in a statement.

According to reports, the officials also discussed bilateral issues and the interoperability between the two navies. The Baltic Fleet commander commended the professionalism displayed by Indian Navy sailors during INDRA-2019, the annual naval exercises between the two countries.

There were also discussions about the Indian naval ships being built at Russian shipyards and their trials at the Baltic Sea ranges. Currently, Russia’s Yantar Shipyard on the Baltic coast in Kaliningrad has laid down two frigates for the Indian Navy, the Fleet office reported.

These ships are part of a contract signed in 2018 between the two countries to build four Project 11356 frigates. Under the agreement, two vessels would be made at Russia’s Yantar Shipyard at Kaliningrad and the remaining two would be built at Goa Shipyard Limited in India.

This year, INDRA-2020 was conducted in the Bay of Bengal during which the Russian Pacific Fleet warships Admiral Vinogradov, Admiral Tributs and fleet tanker Boris Butoma engaged in exercises with the Indian Navy’s INS Ranvijay, INS Sahyadri, INS Kiltan and fleet tanker INS Shakti. The Russian ships were already at Sri Lankan port Hambantota for a business call.

The INDRA-2020 was also seen as a ‘pleasing action’ by the Indian government as it refused to participate in the Kavkaz-2020 exercises held in Russia due to the Covid-19 pandemic.