An eighteen member Russian Air Force team arrived today at Air Force Station Halwara in Punjab to participate in Phase II of the Indo–Russian bilateral exercise “AVIA-INDRA“. Phase I of the exercise was held at Russia for two weeks during August-September 2014.
The Russian delegation is headed by Major General Alexander N Lyapkin and consists of Fighter and Helicopter aircrew as well as Air Defence crew among other members. Russian team will be in India up to 28 November 2014.
During the exercise, Russian aircrew would be flying the Su-30 MKI, Mi-17 & Mi–35 aircraft with the IAF, at Air Force Station Halwara. The joint exercise will further strengthen the relations between the two Air Forces taking forward the India – Russia strategic partnership. Commencement of this exercise also coincides with the visit of Commander-in-Chief of Russian Federation Air Force (RFAF), Colonel General Viktor Nikolaevich Bondarev, who called on Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) today.
Bilateral ties of India and Russia are a key pillar of Indian foreign policy, since the signing of the “Declaration on the India-Russian Strategic Partnership’’ in 2000, Regular high level interactions have taken place in the recent past.
Some of the major procurement contracts signed with Russia for the Indian Air Force in the last decade have been IJT Engines, MiG-29 Upgrades, Mi-17 V5 and Medium Lift Helicopters (MLH). Besides these, contracts for Joint Production of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Multi Role Transport Aircraft have been signed.
In the next three days, the Chief of RFAF Colonel General Nikolaevich Bondarev will be visiting the National Defence Academy followed by a visit to the Su-30 Squadron. The RFAF Chief is planned to visit the Air Force Academy (AFA) at Hyderabad to get a first hand account of the training being carried out on the PC-7 Simulator and the Virtual Tower Simulator. He would also be interacting with Instructors and trainees at AFA.
This visit aims to enhance Air Force to Air Force ties between both the countries.
(Text and photos by Ministry of Defence, New Delhi)