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Russia Prepares for Naval Drills with China, India, ASEAN

Russia's Pacific Fleet in the next six months will take part in three large-scale international naval exercises, including joint drills with the navies of India, China and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the fleet's spokesman said Wednesday.

According to Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov, Russia and India are holding talks on preparation for INDRA-2014 naval exercises scheduled to be held in the Sea of Japan in summer.

Martov said the drills will start with a visit of a group of Indian warships to Russia's far-eastern port of Vladivostok in July.

Since 2003, India and Russia have conducted seven large exercises under the so-called INDRA series of joint ground and naval drills. The last such exercise was held between Russian and Indian army units in October at India's Mahajan field firing range.

In 2011, Russia canceled joint naval drills with India in the Pacific Ocean, citing the tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan.

Boosting its military ties with China, Russia is sending warships from the Pacific Fleet to hold Maritime Cooperation-2014 joint drills with the Chinese navy in the northern part of the East China Sea in May-June, Martov said.

The active phase of the exercise will involve several simulated missions and live-firing drills against sea and air targets, he said.

In addition, a Pacific Fleet task force led by Udaloy-class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov will join the 2014 KOMODO multilateral joint exercise in March to improve naval cooperation capabilities in disaster relief.

The exercise will be held off the coast of Indonesia and involve all 10 country members of ASEAN plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States.

[Source: Ria Novosti, Vladivostok, 26Feb14]

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