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Indra 2020 to be held in Andaman Sea

  • 02 Sep 2020
  • 2 min read

Why In News

India and Russia are scheduled to hold Indra 2020 in the Andaman Sea, close to the Strait of Malacca instead of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

  • The Strait of Malacca connects Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and is 900 km in length and is also a prominent trade route between East Asia and West Asia-Europe.
  • IOR is under high operational alert by the Indian Navy due to the ongoing standoff with China in Ladakh.

Key Points

  • The Indra series of exercises began in 2003 and was conducted as a bilateral naval exercise alternately between the two countries.
    • However, the first joint Tri-Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
    • Indra 2020 will be the first bilateral naval exercise since all such engagements were suspended due to Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Its timing coincides with Indian Defence Minister’s visit to Russia for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers Meet.
  • Andaman Sea was also the location where frontline warships of the Indian Navy conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the USA Navy’s USS Nimitz carrier strike group in July this year.
  • China Factor:
    • Recently, India has withdrawn from the Kavkaz-2020 multinational exercise in Russia due to the restrictions posed by the pandemic. However, the participation of Chinese troops in the same exercise is apparently the main reason.
    • Indian Navy is keeping a close watch on the movement of Chinese Naval ships in the IOR because their presence in the IOR has gone up considerably over the years in the name of Anti-Piracy patrols.
      • In 2017, China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
      • Given its strategic location, India has embarked on a major infrastructure expansion plan on the Andaman and Nicobar island chain.

Source: TH

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