Indra 2007 is a bi-annual naval exercise conducted with the Russian Navy since 2003. The exercise was part of an Overseas Deployment (OSD) to the South East and East Asian regions which involved SIMBEX '07 with the Singapore Navy, Malabar '07 with the US Navy, TRILATEX '07 with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the US Navy, Indra '07 with the Russian Navy, passage exercises with the navies of Philippines and Vietnam, participation in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX 2007) in Singapore and a final operational engagement of a bilateral passage exercise with ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy. The deployment as a whole is an intrinsic part of the ongoing effort at constructive engagement within the maritime field, being undertaken by the Indian Navy in concert with other instruments and mechanisms of the nation's diplomacy. The port calls and opportunities to engage & exercise with the navies of the regions enabled the Indian Navy to gain & share operational and doctrinal expertise, exchange transformational experiences, examine & imbibe best practices, promote interoperability and enhance maritime domain awareness - all of which are areas that the Indian Navy lays especial emphasis upon.
The deployment also included scheduled ports of call at Singapore and Yokosuka - located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay in Japan. The port call at Yokosuka is particularly significant as it is a major event in the ongoing 2007 India-Japan Friendship Year celebrations. No less important are the port calls at the city of Qingdao - located on the southern coast of the Shandong peninsula of China which borders the Yellow Sea; the city of Vladivostok - a major port city and Russian naval base located on the Sea of Japan and some 100 km east of the Russian-Chinese border; the city of Ho Chi Minh - located near the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and earlier infamously known as Saigon and finally Manila, the capital city of the South East island nation of Philippines.
Indra 2007 was divided into two segments --» the harbour phase from 22 to 24 April 2007 at the Vladivostok naval base and the sea-going phase from 24 to 26 April 2007. The Indian Fleet comprised of three guided-missile destroyers - INS Mysore, INS Rana and INS Ranjit; one guided-missile corvette - INS Kuthar and the fleet replenishment tanker - INS Jyoti. The Russian Flotilla was represented by two Udaloy Class anti-submarine warfare destroyers - the Marshal Shaposhnikov and the Admiral Vinogradov, one Dubna Class light fleet oiler - the Pechenga, one missile boat, one diesel submarine, several minesweepers and a pair of tugboats. Two Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopters and an IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft of the Russian Navy were also added to the exercise. Rear Admiral Viktor Chirkov led the Russian Flotilla, while Rear Admiral Ravinder Kumar Dhowan led the Indian Fleet. Vice Admiral Sangram Singh Byce, the FOC-in-C Western Naval Command, was also present to witness the exercise.
The engagement which was conducted in the Pyotr Veliky Bay - off the Vladivostok naval base - included surface live ammunition firing, air defense & anti-submarine warfare maneuvers, clearing mines from shipping lanes, practice operations related to maintaining maritime order and engaging each other in drills to protect shipping, combating sea piracy, terrorism & drug smuggling. The main highlight of Indra 2007 was the embarking of naval commandos to free a ship seized by terrorists and a live firing exercise that destroyed a target that played the role of a terrorist vessel. A Sea King Mk.42B helicopter, from INS Mysore, also landed on board the Marshal Shaposhnikov and a Russian Navy Ka-27 helicopter reciprocated the gesture by landing on an Indian Navy vessel. The Ka-27 helicopter of the Russian Navy likely landed on either INS Rana or INS Ranjit, as both destroyers carry a Ka-28 (an export derivative of the Ka-27) helicopter when they are out at sea and would have thus served as the most suitable platform for the Ka-27 to land on.
Images Courtesy - Roel Van De Velde