Jodhpur: The Indo-Russian joint military exercise `INDRA 2013`, to improve capabilities for carrying out anti-terrorist operations, kicked off on Saturday at Mahajan field firing range near India-Pakistan border in Thar desert of Rajasthan.
Under the drills, a joint Russian-Indian command will plan and carry out an anti-terrorist operation, involving the destruction of illegal armed formations.
Russian troops will be using Indian military equipments, including the T-72 and BMP-2, about 30 units in total, all of them made in Russia.
As part of joint training, mechanised combat groups of both the countries will be participating in this exercise.
"This is for the first time that a joint exercise is pitched at the Combat Group level," said defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami.
He said that the Mahajan field firing range, under control of the headquarter of the South Western Command (Jaipur), has a world class training infrastructure developed during last 2-3 years, which is utilised for carrying out joint international exercises with friendly foreign countries like Russia, USA, UK, France, Thailand and Kazakhstan.
A combat group of Russian Army personnel and an equal complement of Indian soldiers from South Western Command will witness integration of their tactical and technical skills in a UN peace enforcement scenario involving mechanised forces.
Goswami said that the Indian side will be led by Colonel Rajesh Nambiar, the Combat Group Commander while the visiting Russian contingent will be led by Lt Gen Vladimir G Tzilko.
State of the art equipment for surveillance and target acquisition specialist weapons for close quarter battle, explosive and IED detectors, as well as the latest communications equipment, has been fielded for the joint exercise.
Both sides will jointly plan and execute a series of well integrated tactical drills for neutralisation of threats that may be encountered in UN peace operations.