As India backs off from the Kavkaz exercise in Russia over diplomatic and pandemic issues, New Delhi nevertheless has not taken much time to tell the world of its strong ties with Russia – a ‘historical ally’.
India will be hosting a bilateral naval exercise with the Russian Navy, in which at least three of its warships are expected to participate. The exercise will take place on 4-5 September at the Andaman Islands, during the days when the Indian Defense Minister will visit Moscow for the SCO meeting.
According to media reports, the move is said to be a pleasing action by New Delhi as a ‘compensation’ for not attending the Kavkaz exercises with its closest defense partner – Russia.
India, mindful that pulling out of Kavkaz would be upsetting for the Russians, has welcomed the Russian Navy for a maritime exercise in the Andaman Sea, near the Straits of Malacca. The exercise will interestingly take place in the same waters in which India will be hosting the Malabar -2020 Naval Exercise later this year, which involves joint exercises among Indian, American, and Japanese navies. Australia might also be invited for the exercises, completing the QUAD.
“This exercise isn’t just another hastily arranged naval exercise, it is a message, primarily to China. Even if India isn’t going to Kavkas, the links with Russia remain as strong as ever. Sure, there’s tension in Ladakh. But that doesn’t stop Russia and India from working closely together,” writes Srinjoy Chowdhry, the National Affairs Editor for Times Now.
The Indian Navy is also set to commission its second nuclear-powered Arihant-class submarine built in India- the INS Arighat by the end of this year. The submarine has enjoyed a secretive status and will complement India’s nuclear triad, armed with K-15 and K-4 nuclear missiles and torpedoes.