Russia, India: navies for war games. No bearing on Iraq

Russia's and India's navies are having a joint exercise, end of May into early June. The routine event has no bearing at all on current Iraqi developments, Russia's Rear Admiral Vladimir Pepelyaev reassured in an exclusive Novosti interview.

Mr. Pepelyaev, of the Central Naval HQ, leads Russian delegates at a conference which opened in Bombay today for the two naval tops to dot all i's and cross all t's in exercise preparations.

The exercise will proceed in two stages-in the Arabian Sea, May 22-23, to involve India's Western Fleet, and in the Bay of Bengal, June 1-2, with India's Eastern Fleet warships. The participating Russian vessels fly the flag of Vice-Admiral Evgeni Orlov, second in command of the Black Sea Fleet.

The "Moskva" missile-bearing cruiser of the Guards-Black Sea Fleet flagship, and three ships of the Pacific Fleet-the "Admiral Panteleyev" and "Marshal Shaposhnikov" submarine chasers and the tanker "Vladimir Kolechitsky"-will take part in the exercise in the Russian side.

The exercise will train joint manoeuvring, anti-aircraft support, artillery shooting at sea and coastal targets, action against conventional enemy submarines, and rescue at sea. All missions aim to improve the ocean warcraft of two powerful navies. The exercise comes as a landmark in Russian-Indian military partnership to resume a practice suspended for the last 15 years, saisd Admiral Pepelyaev.

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