India, Russia begin naval drills in Sea of Japan
India and Russia have commenced naval manoeuvres in the Sea of Japan which coincide with their growing energy ties that could, in the future, include transit of oil through the Arctic route.
A Defence Ministry statement has said the two countries, which are fielding an impressive array of warships and aircraft during the Indra-14 exercise, will work together to check piracy, render assistance to ships in distress and counter the threat from submarines. They will also coordinate missile strikes on land targets.
Russia’s guided missile cruiser Varyag and destroyer Bystry are participating in the exercise, in which the Navy is showcasing INS Shivalik, a modern stealth frigate, and INS Ranvijay, a Rajput class destroyer.
Ahead of the exercise, Russian publication Nezavismaya Gazeta, reported that India’s participation in the Sakhalin-1 project for the development of an oil and gas field, as well as the planned shipment of natural resources from the Arctic, imparted relevance to the manoeuvres.
It added that India and Russia were involved in a joint development of phosphate deposits on the Kola Peninsula and potassium-magnesium salts in the Perm region — a hefty total investment of $2.5 billion.