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. Russian defence minister in India to review joint terror training
NEW DELHI (AFP) Oct 16, 2005
Russia and India will hold their first joint anti-terror war games Sunday in the western desert state of Rajasthan as part of an exercise to hone skills, reports said.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov arrived in India overnight to review the war games between the long-time allies in which 1,600 elite Russian troops will take part, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Despite the 1992 breakup of the Soviet Union, Moscow remains New Delhi's closest military ally and is the source of 70 percent of India's defence hardware.

The anti-terror exercises, dubbed "Indra-2005", includes paratroopers from Russia's 76th Pskov Airborne Division fresh from operations in Chechnya, the United News of India news agency reported.

Conflict in Kashmir and Chechnya had made India and Russia victims of international terrorism "much before everybody started talking about anti-terror combat", UNI quoted Ivanov as saying.

Both "had accumulated a rich experience in combating terror and could gain from each others' experience", he said.

Ivanov, on a three-day visit, also hopes to conclude an agreement on military intellectual property rights by December to make it easier to transfer defence technology to India, Press Trust said.

In addition, Ivanov will witness joint naval manoeuvres in the Bay of Bengal with India Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, a defence ministry statement said at the weekend.

The naval exercises, the third in the series since 2003, "will include various surface firing, air defence and anti-submarine warfare exercises," it said.

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