An article in today’s RIA Novosti: MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and India have agreed to exchange knowledge in the training of mountain troops as part of an extensive military cooperation program, an aide to Russia’s Ground Forces commander said on Tuesday.
India’s Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor, arrived in Moscow on Monday on a five-day visit to Russia. He met Tuesday with Russia’s Ground Forces commander, Gen. Alexei Maslov, to discuss prospects for bilateral military cooperation.
“Generals Maslov and Kapoor agreed to establish a regular exchange of experience in training mountain troops,” Col. Igor Konashenkov said. “This year 10 Russian officers from mountain brigades [deployed in the North Caucasus] will visit an Indian military training center located in the mountain ridges of [India’s northernmost states] Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Mountain warfare is one of the most dangerous types of combat, as it involves fighting not only the enemy but also extreme cold and inaccessible terrain. As part of his current tour, the Indian army chief will visit the North Caucasus military district.
Russia began deploying two mountain brigades in the North Caucasus last year, near the mountainous border with Georgia. The two brigades are made up of contract soldiers, totaling about 4,500 personnel. The Indian Army has 10 divisions dedicated to mountain warfare and another infantry division earmarked for high altitude operations. They are deployed in strategically important areas along the borders with its traditional rivals, Pakistan and China. India and Russia have a long history of military cooperation, which goes back almost half a century. The existing Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation program, which lasts until 2010, includes up to 200 projects worth about $18 billion in all, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.