Exercise INDRA 2020 India & Russia are to hold bilateral naval drill in Andaman Sea, close to strategic Strait of Malacca (between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.). The INDRA exercise is being conducted while the Indian Navy is on high operational alert due to the standoff with PRC in Ladakh.
In this exercise 3 Russian Naval ships are to take part on September 4 & 5. The INDRA 2020 comes just after India withdrew from Kavkaz-2020 multinational tri-services exercise that is to be held in Russia. Also, it coincides with Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh’s visit to Russia for SCO Ministerial meeting.
In July 2020, Indian Navy and United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz conducted PASSEX exercise. It means that it was arranged suddenly without a proper pre plan. The Supercarrier USS Nimitz was passing the Indian Ocean as it was returning from the South China Sea through the Malacca Strait. The exercise was held as USS Nimitz was just transiting the region.
It is important for the Indian Navy to involve in such frequent naval drills with its close defence partners Like USA, Australia, Russia. This is because, the Chinese Naval presence in the region has increased recently in the name of anti-piracy patrols.
Why is Andaman important?
Over 60,000 commercial vessels traverse yearly through the Andaman waters. Mainland China is growing its presence in the region. China’s Naval vessels camouflaged as fishing boats have been sighted in the region. They also make their presence in the name of port visits to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Hambantota port of Sri Lanka has been leased to PRC for 99 years which PRC is developing into a naval base. Similarly, China is building Gwadar port in Pakistan.
Based on cargo volume, People’s Republic of China is home to 7 of the top ten ports globally. Therefore, it is important to India to strengthen its naval presence to boost economic and security measures. India Russia to conduct INDRA 2020 India Russia to conduct INDRA 2020