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Business news, 22.08.2006 16:37

India to participate in Russian War Games next year

india_defence India and Russia have agreed to hold joint war games on Russian soil next year to enhance military ties and share experience in handling low-intensity conflicts at high altitudes, Army Chief General J J Singh said in Moscow.

Singh, who is on his maiden visit to Russia, held wide-ranging talks with Chief of General Staff of the Russian armed forces General Baluyevsky and Commander-in-Chief of the Land forces Colonel General Alexei Maslov on Monday. "We have agreed to enhance our co-operation, including joint exercises on Russian soil in 2007," he told Indian reporters.

Describing his talks with Baluyevsky and Maslov as 'meaningful,' Singh said a whole range of issues of services-to-services cooperation were discussed including sharing of experience and security assessment in the neighbourhoods of Iran and the US.

"We have experience in something, like mountain combat, they have experience in cold climate combat, we can share our experience," the Army chief said, adding the two armies could also share their experience in combating militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and Chechnya.

Responding to a question, Singh said that he did not discuss the issue of sustained delivery of spares as it has been taken up through various channels, including the Indian ambassador in Moscow.

The Army chief also declined to identify the weapons that India could be interested in acquiring from Russia, known in the past as a wholesale supplier of military hardware for the Indian army.

"We go by the nation's budget. We have different ratio, percentage of acquisition, upgradation and scrapping of old hardware. I am here to enhance our ties," Singh said before leaving for St Petersburg, where he will visit the artillery school and other military units.

India and Russia have also agreed to send personnel to each other for training and modalities and the budget for this are being worked out, he said. During his week-long Russia visit, the army chief is also scheduled to visit the crack airborne division based near Tula, south of Moscow and the 'Splav' defence enterprise specialising in deadly multiple-launch rocket systems like 'Smerch' being acquired by the Indian army.

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