Defence Current Affairs

INDRA 2017: First tri-services military exercise between India-Russia begins

The first tri-service armed Forces (Army, Navy, & Air Force) exercise INDRA 2017 between India and Russia began at the 249th Combined Army Range Sergeevisky and in Sea of Japan near Vladivostok. It is overall 10th edition of INDRA exercise and India’s first bilateral military exercise with any country involving all three services.

INDRA 2017

The scope of 11-day exercise includes professional interactions, establishment of joint command and control structures between Indian and Russian forces and elimination of terrorist threat in multinational environment under UN mandate.

The Indian contingent comprises 350 personnel from Army, 80 from Air Force, two IL 76 aircraft and one frigate and corvette each from the Navy. Russia is represented by approximately 1000 troops of 5th Army, marines and ships of Pacific Fleet and aircraft from Eastern Military District.

Comment

Exercise INDRA in its previous nine avatars was conducted as single service exercise alternately between two countries. For India, the major emphasis during exercise is to enhance inter-service cooperation and synergizing jointness. Moreover it is inlines with India’s armed forces focus on complete and effective inter-operability with countries, big and small in order to effectively conduct military operations overseas. In 2016, INDRA exercise was held in December 2016 at Visakhapatnam and Bay of Bengal.

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Defence Ministry to raise three new tri-service agencies

Ministry of Defence (MoD) is expecting to raise three new tri-service agencies in field of cyber warfare, space and special operations shortly. The proposal is with the other ministries of government for approval as the resources for them have to come from accretion and not under save-and-raise.

Key Facts

The new tri-service agencies are Defence Cyber Agency, Defence Space Agency and a Special Operations Division. These agencies will be headed by officers of rank of Major General and equivalent in Navy and Indian Air Force

The cyber and space agencies will be based out of Delhi, for close coordination with their civilian counterparts, while Special Operations Division will be based outside national capital.

Defence Cyber Agency: It will work in close coordination with National Cyber Security Advisor. It will focus on non-civilian cyber issues, including safeguarding critical infrastructure. It will be have over 1,000 personnel and will be distributed to various formations of Army, Navy and IAF.

Defence Space Agency: It will work closely with ISRO and DRDO for better utilisation and integration of space resources. This includes information sharing from individual satellites, and surveillance from other satellites which can then be shared with the concerned defence service. It will have over 200 personnel.

Special Operations Division: It will have components of Special Forces of Army, Navy and IAF, and will be equipped and trained together for various external contingencies. This division, which will be based at a location which already has training infrastructure, will have two SF battalions at its core, along with teams from Marcos and Garud.

Background

In 2012, the Chiefs of Staff Committee had recommended creation of three joint commands in the areas of cyber, space and special operations due to their increased relevance in modern warfare. Besides, the new joint military doctrine, released earlier in 2017 also underscores the need to prepare defence forces for emerging triad of space, cyberspace and special operations for future combat.

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