Russia To Hold Military Drills With India & China’s Western Theatre Command That ‘Mans’ The Disputed LAC

Russia will conduct military drills with bitter-foes India and China as both key allies of Moscow remain entangled in border dispute along the volatile Line of Actual Control (LAC).

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Indian soldiers today arrived in Russia for the Indra-2021 drills in the Volgograd Region, a spokesman for the Southern Military District (SMD) told reporters on Sunday.

“At the Gumrak airport, Volgograd, a group of 250 soldiers of the Indian armed forces arrived to take part in the Indra-2021 international exercise,” Vadim Astafyev said.

Upon arrival, the Indian soldiers headed to the field camp located at the SMD Prudboy ground in the Volgograd Region.

Indra-2021 will run from August 1-13 and involve 250 soldiers from motor-rifle, tank, and artillery divisions, as well as intelligence troops of the SMD, as well as 250 Indian soldiers. More than 100 units of military hardware will be used in the drills. The exercise will focus on counterterrorism.

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During the drills, the two armies will be tasked to destroy a mock enemy in a specially-built settlement with three streets and 50 residential buildings, as well as several mobile targets.

This year’s exercise aims to prepare the military units of both countries for the joint fight against terrorism.

INDRA-2020 was held in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

Russia, China Drills

Russia and China will also hold joint military exercises Interaction-2021 with the participation of around 10,000 people that China will host in mid-August, the Russian Defense Ministry announced in July.

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File Image: PLA Soldiers

“Subdivision of a unit of the [Russian] Eastern Military District will take part in the joint Russian-Chinese operational-tactical exercise Sibu/Interaction-2021, which will be held in mid-August in the People’s Republic of China in line with previously reached agreements,” the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters.

The exercise will involve around 10,000 people, combat aircraft, artillery and armored vehicles.

The drills are aimed at strengthening the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership, increasing the level of military cooperation, and demonstrating the countries’ determination and ability to combat terrorism, and jointly protect peace and regional stability, the ministry added.

The spokesperson for China’s Defense Ministry Wu Qian had also confirmed that over 10,000 soldiers are planned to participate in a joint military exercise between Russia and China.

“According to the consensus reached by the two countries, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will participate in the exercise ZAPAD/INTERACTION-2021 to be held in China in early and mid-August,” Wu said.

File:Internal Troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs (Russia) (494-19).jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: Russian Soldiers – Wikimedia Commons

The exercises will be held in western China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region at the combined-arms tactical training base.

“The Chinese participating troops mainly come from the PLA Western Theater Command, while the Russian participating troops from its Eastern Military District. A total of more than 10,000 troops will be dispatched by the two sides, along with multiple types of aircraft, artillery and armored equipment,” the spokesman added.

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According to the Chinese official, the goal of the joint exercises is to refine strategic cooperation between the two nations, as well as to demonstrate their power to ensure regional security.