An Indian Army contingent comprising troops from 7/8 Gorkha Rifles is participating in the multilateral strategic and command exercise ‘Vostok-2022’ which commenced on Friday at the training grounds of the eastern military district in Russia. The exercise also includes participation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
“The exercise is aimed at interaction and coordination amongst other participating military contingents and observers,” the Army said in a statement. The exercise is scheduled to be held from September 01 to 07. The war games also come as the war in Ukraine enters the seventh month.
The Indian Army contingent over the next seven days will undertake joint manoeuvres to include joint field training exercises, combat discussions, and firepower exercises, the statement said.
The Indian Army contingent will look forward to sharing practical aspects and putting into practice the validated drills, procedures and practice amalgamation of new technology through discussions and tactical exercises, it added.
Russia has stated that Vostok-2022 will be conducted in two phases. Participating contingents include observers from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and other partner states including Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Syria and Tajikistan, said Russian Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General Alexander for foreign military attachés in a briefing in Moscow.
The exercise comes as the standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh continues for over two years now. While disengagement has been undertaken in some areas, friction areas remain in addition to the overall de-escalation.
India also defended its participation in the exercises in response to U.S. criticism.
"India has been regularly participating in multilateral exercises in Russia, along with a number of other countries," said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, stressing that the Vostok exercises were routine, and added that they would only include Army contingents.
Mr. Bagchi was responding to comments by the U.S. White House Press Secretary who said that "the U.S. has concerns about any country exercising with Russia while Russia wages an unprovoked brutal war against Ukraine."
"Of course every participating country will make its own decisions,’’ said U.S. White House Press Secretary Katherine Jean Pierre.