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India, Russia hold joint air exercise

New Delhi, Oct 14, IRNA-Indian Army personnel and special airborne troops from Russia took part in joint air exercises for better understanding and coordination in combating terrorism in New Delhi on Friday.

Personnel from the Indian Army's elite 50th independent para-brigade and Moscow's 76 Airborne division, part of that country's Rapid Deployment Force parachuted at the Malpura dropping zone, thirteen km from Agra, this morning.

The two teams were led by Lt Gen S Pattabhiraman, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Indian army and Col Gen Alexander Kalmakov, Chief of the Russian airborne division.

Beginning at 0830 hours, batches of ten to fourteen paratroopers, including the two chiefs, bailed down perfectly.

They were followed by forty skydivers, twelve of them Russian, including four women, who fell from a height of 2,500 metres in four batches, the first of whom carried Russian and Indian flags.

Speaking to reporters after the exercise, Lt Gen Pattibhiraman said the joint exercises would be continued in the second phase at Mahajan field firing ranges near Suratgarh.

He said the operations would help refine each others skills in dealing with terrorism, in areas like Chechnya and Kashmir.

Kalmakov said the joint exercises would provide important direct contact between personnel of the two sides as well as a good base for proceeding with relationships.

The exercises would be of benefit to both countries and should go further in developing military and technical cooperation, Kalmakov said.

The exercise today comes two days ahead of the joint land exercise between the two countries in Suratgarh in Rajasthan in the backdrop of the two nations grappling with an increasing rise in urban terrorism.

... Payvand News - 10/15/05 ... --

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