Visakhapatnam: The 11th edition of Indra Navy, a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian and the Russian Navy, is scheduled to take place in the Bay of Bengal from 4 to 5 September.

Launched in 2003, Indra Navy epitomises the long-term strategic relationship between the two Navies, the Indian Navy said in a statement. The primary aim of the exercise is to further consolidate inter-operability built by the two Navies over the years and also to enhance understanding and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations, it said. The scope of this edition includes wide-ranging and diverse activities across the spectrum of maritime operations. Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Indra Navy 2020 will be undertaken in a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ format.

The Indian Navy will be represented by guided-missile destroyer Ranvijay, indigenous frigate Sahyadri, and fleet tanker Shakti, along with their integral helicopters. Sahyadri has been presently redeployed to provide assistance to MT New Diamond, which caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka.

The Russian Federation Navy will be represented by destroyers Admiral Vinogradov and Admiral Tributs, and fleet tanker Boris Butoma of the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok.

The exercise will involve surface and anti-aircraft drills, firing exercises, helicopter operations, and seamanship evolutions. The last edition of the exercise was conducted off Visakhapatnam in December 2018.

Even as the exercise is scheduled to take place in the Bay of Bengal, Defence minister Rajnath Singh is visiting Moscow on the invitation of Russian Defence minister General Sergei Shoigu. The two will discuss bilateral cooperation and issues of mutual interest and commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II.

The exercise will help to further boost mutual confidence and cooperation between the two Navies and would reinforce the long-standing bond of friendship between the two countries, the Indian Navy’s statement read.

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