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‘Enhance military cooperation with Russia’

Vladimir Radyuhin

J.J. Singh watches anti-terrorist exercises of troops


Gives high marks to Indian and Russian soldiers

Less exchange of servicemen now


— Photo: PTI

ENDURING COOPERATION: Army Chief General J. J. Singh with the Indian Air Force contingent at INDRA- 07 during his visit to Pskov in Russia on Monday.

MOSCOW: Chief of the Army Staff General J. J. Singh has called for intensifying military-to-military contacts between the Indian and Russian armed forces.

“We’d like to enhance the level of military-to-military cooperation with Russia,” he said. While in the 1960s and 1970s large number of Indian and Russian servicemen underwent training in each other’s country, such exchanges have come down in recent years.

“That generation is about to retire, and it is up to us to ensure that the link does not break,” the Army Chief said.

He said that he had raised the issue during his meetings with the Russian Chief of Staff, General Yuri Baluyevsky; Land Forces Commander General Alexei Maslov and Airborne Forces Commander General Alexander Kolmakov.

“We discussed ways to increase exchanges and visits to promote closer association of officers who would take leading positions in the armed forces of the two countries,” Gen. Singh said. One possibility was to arrange cost-subsidised holidays for officers and their families in each other’s country.

Gen. Singh visited Russia to watch joint anti-terrorist exercises of airborne troops of the two countries.

Terrain conditions

He gave high marks to the performance of both Indian and Russian soldiers “in severe weather and challenging terrain conditions.”

“We have overcome the challenges of interoperability and the language barrier and have demonstrated that when called upon we’ll be able to work together for anti-terrorist missions.”

The Krasnaya Zvezda daily, official mouthpiece of the Russian Defence Ministry, praised the mettle and skills of the Indian servicemen, especially in negotiating a two-km assault ground packed with tough obstacles such as pools of burning water and mine fields.

The paper said that German troopers had refused to go through the tests when they trained with Russian servicemen two years ago.

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