Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

India regrets cancellation of naval drills with Russia - admiral

RIA Novosti

14:19 03/06/2011

NEW DELHI, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Indian Navy is disappointed with Russia's last- minute cancellation of joint naval drills in the Pacific Ocean in April, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma said.

The Indian Navy task force consisting of three destroyers - INS Delhi, INS Ranvir, and INS Ranvijay, corvette INS Kirch, and tanker INS Jyoti called at Pacific Fleet's main base in Vladivostok on April 18-23.

Russia reported the arrival of Indian warships as a friendly visit, but the Indian side claims the program of the visit originally included joint drills, which were cancelled by the Russians at the last moment.

"Vladivostok is nearly 5,000 miles away from here [India]. So for us to plan a deployment of ships all the way there takes a lot of planning and costs lots of money to deploy ships at such distances," Verma said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.

"So to that extent, there was an element of disappointment where exercises were not held at the final stages," he added.

According to the Indian admiral, the Russian authorities explained that the cancellation was made in view of the incidents that had taken place in Japan at the time: the double natural disaster and the following nuclear crisis.

However, a source at the New Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses said the cancellation was a "bad sign" in the bilateral relations and both sides should take "corrective steps."

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