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Russia, India to hold joint naval drills in Jan. 2009

RIA Novosti

20/11/2008 14:03 VLADIVOSTOK, November 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and India will conduct joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean in January next year, a spokesman for Russia's Pacific Fleet said on Thursday.

INDRA is a biennial Russian-Indian exercise aimed at practicing cooperative engagement to enforce maritime law and counter piracy, terrorism, and drug smuggling. It is the fourth such exercise since 2003.

"A task force from the Pacific Fleet, led by the Varyag missile cruiser, will leave Vladivostok in December and set sail for the Indian Ocean to participate in joint drills with the Indian navy," Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.

He said that the task force will also conduct joint exercises with a task force from Russia's Northern Fleet, led by the Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser, which will arrive in the Indian Ocean after joint drills with the Venezuelan Navy in late November.

"Following the exercises, the Russian warships will pay friendly visits to several ports in India and China," the spokesman said.

Martov also cited Vice Admiral Konstantin Sidenko, commander of the Pacific Fleet, as saying that Russian warships from the fleet will make several long-range training sorties in the South Pacific and Indian oceans in 2009, and participate in a number of exercises involving live-firing drills.

Russia announced last year that its Navy had resumed and would build up a constant presence in different regions of the world's oceans.

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