New Delhi, Aug 25 IANS | 3 months ago

In a first, the Indian and Russian Air Forces are holding a joint drill with fighter aircraft in a step which is expected to boost defence ties between the two nations.

The Aviva Indra-2014 exercise which started Monday at Astrakhan region, near the Caspian Sea in Russia, and will continue till Sep 5, an Indian Air Force (IAF) statement said.

"Ex Avia Indra-2014 which has commenced today is the first exercise of its kind between the two air forces and is seen as a major milestone in military relations," the statement added.

The two countries conduct the Indra-series war games between their armies and navies.

During the exercise, fighter and helicopter pilots of IAF will participate in missions alongside Russian pilots in aircraft of the Russian Air Force Su-30SM fighter aircraft, Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters.

"This involves participation of fighter pilots, helicopter pilots, missile combat crew, as well as engineers from the Indian Air Force (IAF) along with their counterparts of the Russian Federation Air Force (RFAF)," said the statement.

Missile combat crew will interact with their counterparts from the RFAF and participate in air defence exercises.

"It will also provide an opportunity to both the forces for exchange of best practices and will cement the foundation for a more professional interaction and growth in the future," the statement added.

Defence ties between India and the Russian Federation have a historical perspective as the former Soviet Union was an important supplier of defence equipment to India for several decades.

Russian-origin aircraft such as the Su-30MKI and MiG-series continue to be the mainstay of India's air power.

(Posted on 25-08-2014)

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