By Wang Qi, Sina English
Russia and India see China as their major rival, making the joint military exercise near Lake Baikal quite meaningful, said a Russian military analyst.
Russia and India started their sixth joint anti-terrorism military exercises Indra-2012 Tuesday in the Republic of Buryatia in southern Siberia, a place near both China and Lake Baikal.
"To some extent, the exercise is targeted at China surreptitiously. At least in part of it, China is likely to be an imaginary enemy," the military analyst said.
According to VOA’s website, the two countries have each sent 250 soldiers to the Indra-2012 military drills, which is to be conducted till August 16 at the Burduny training range. Some 50 Russian combat vehicles, including tanks and artillery launchers, were also involved in the drills.
The Su-25 fighters, Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopter gunships of Russia’s air force will provide support to the land troops in the drills.
Troops of both countries will perform reconnaissance missions together and eliminate illegal armed forces, the Russian Eastern Military District press said.
Although both Russia and India stressed the joint exercises were aimed to crack down on terrorism, the Russian analyst said it was a meaningless title as most military drills today, including those involves nuclear weapons.
According to the Russian government, the drill was part of the 2011-2010 military technology cooperation program between Russia and India.
Russia and India have held the Indra joint anti-terrorism drills since 2003, and this marks the sixth time. The last Indra drills were held in India in October 2010. Russia once sent troops to India and took part in joint drills with Indian troops in the Himalayas, at the doorstep of China.