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Indian Plans Naval Wargames With China, Japan, Russia, US

An India navy destroyer.India tests air-to-air missile
Bhubaneswar (AFP) India, March 29 - India on Thursday successfully test fired a domestically made air-to-air missile for the second time in four days, defence officials said. The Astra missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea, 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Orissa's capital Bhubaneswar, the officials said. The single-stage solid-fuel missile, first successfully tested in May 2003, can carry a 15 kilogramme (33 pound) conventional warhead and has a strike-range of 20 to 80 kilometres. The test comes a week after neighbouring Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable radar-dodging cruise missile with a range of 700 kilometres. The neighbours have routinely conducted missile tests since carrying out tit-for-tat nuclear detonations in May 1998. Tensions have, however, eased since 2004 when they launched a peace process aimed at ending six decades of hostility and resolving their dispute over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, the cause of two of their three wars.
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) March 29, 2007
India is sending its largest warships for joint manoeuvres with China, Japan, Russia and the US where it will showcase its growing naval strength, officials said Thursday.

Three Indian destroyers, a missile corvette, tankers and other combat ships will kick off the two-month series with five days of exercises with US warships beginning April 6 off the Japanese island of Okinawa, they said.

"The thrust of these exercises will be on combating terrorism on high seas including boarding and seizure of illegal-run ships," Rear Admiral Pardeep Chauhan said as the ships headed for the Pacific Ocean.

During the second leg of exercises, the Indian ships will engage the Russian navy in "intensive battle manoeuvres" east off the Chinese-Russian borders.

The programme also included mock battles between Indian, Japanese and US warships off Yokosuka coast on April 17 and exercises with the Vietnamese navy on the return trip in June, Chauhan said.

"A part of the Indian contingent will also proceed to China's Qingdo province to participate in on-shore and off-shore exercises with their navy," he told a news conference.

India and China, who fought a brief but a bitter border war in 1962, are now in the process of developing military-to-military contacts and closer trade and diplomatic ties.

India's 137-ship navy in recent years has increased its presence on strategic energy routes such as the Indian Ocean's busy Malacca Straits, signalling its expanding maritime reach.

During the 2004 tsunami, India turned down offers of American assistance and instead sent out its navy to Sri Lanka and Indonesia besides evacuating 48,000 victims from the Andamans archipelago.

The Indian navy, which in 2005 purchased a second-hand aircraft carrier from Russia, hopes to acquire two nuclear-powered submarines from the country, its largest arms supplier.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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