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Russian army chief visits India


Russian Commander-in-Chieff General Vladimir Boldyrev. A File photo

MOSCOW (PTI): India and Russia plan to deepen defence ties, with a top Russian military delegation visiting New Delhi to intensify military cooperation in mountain-warfare.

General Vladimir Boldyrev, the Commander-in-Chief of Russian Land Forces, has arrived for a week-long India visit on Sunday where he will discuss joint cooperation in mountain-warfare training and tour Indian military facilities in Siachin.

"During parleys with Indian Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor, military cooperation between Russia and India and the problems and prospects of the development of land forces of the two nations will be discussed," said Col. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman of the Russian Land Forces.

"The issues of mountain training would be an important subject of talks and the military leaders will exchange the experience accumulated by their respective armies," Konashenkov was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

General Boldyrev would fly to Leh from New Delhi to inspect 14th Army Corps and visit training facilities situated at an altitude of 5,000 metres.

"The Russian military delegation is scheduled to visit Siachin glacier, where Indian servicemen are deployed on combat duty at the altitude of 7,000 metres in the harsh climate," Col. Konashenkov underlined.
The Russian Army Chief is also scheduled to visit a training centre in Goa and Airborne troops in Agra during his India visit. Russia is currently in the process of raising its mountain brigades in the Caucasus mountains to man the post-Soviet borders and check infiltration of militants active in the volatile Chechnya and neighbouring provinces.

According to Defence Ministry sources, India has accumulated rich experience in mountain combat and Russia is willing to learn from its experience and share its expertise.

India and Russia have signed an inter-services cooperation agreement in 1996, under which the armed forces of the two nations carry out INDRA wargames and share training expertise.

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