Russia, India to hold joint naval exercises in Sea of Japan/East Sea

Sea of JapanGoogle Map of Sea of Japan (click to enlarge)

Russia and India agreed Monday to hold joint naval exercises next year in, of all places, the Sea of Japan, also called East Sea by South Korea.

That surely will ruffle the feathers of both Japan and China!

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Indian counterpart, A.K. Antony, met in Moscow to discuss prospects of bilateral military collaboration. The sides signed a protocol on the development of defense ties, including closer cooperation between all branches of the armed forces.

Since 2003, India and Russia have conducted seven large exercises under the so-called Indra series of joint ground and naval drills. The last such exercise was held between Russian and Indian army units in October at India’s Mahajan field firing range.

In 2011, Russia canceled joint naval drills with India in the Pacific Ocean, citing the tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan. [Source: RIA Novosti, Nov. 18, 2013]

In May 2011, Russia announced plans to rearm and modernize its military grouping on the Kuril Islands that which fell to Soviet control in the aftermath of WWII, but the ownership of which is contested by Japan.

Construction of two Russian garrisons was completed in 2012. Russian military bases on Iturup and Kunashir – the largest of the island group – would accommodate new forces and provisions for the 18th machine gun-artillery division.

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5 responses to “Russia, India to hold joint naval exercises in Sea of Japan/East Sea

  1. A. James Gregor, Ph.D. & Professor

    This is the latest move in what used to be called “The Great Game” in the nineteenth century–the maintenance of a durable security in critically unstable regions of Eastern, Southeastern, and Southern Asia.

    With China developing platforms for the blue water expansion of its naval power, supplemented by air and missile capabilities, Moscow has made an obvious effort to give Beijing pause. Russia cannot be indifferent to the rise of China as an economic and military power in the East. The Russian Far East was wrested from China through the (“unequal”) Treaty of Beijing in 1860. With its recent development as major economic and military power, China has become increasingly active in seeking to restore its “lost territories–in the Senkaku islands, and in the restoration of Taiwan as a “lost province”–all within the same general geographic region. Mao told his followers that China would address the issue of the Russian Far East when the time was right. It appears that the Russians fear that the Chinese are beginning to entertain the notion that the time is close at hand.

    For the Indians, it is clear that this cooperation with the Russians is a signal that New Delhi is not indifferent to the expansion of a Chinese military presence in the South China Sea and Beijing’s first moves into the Indian Ocean and surrounding waters. With the United States, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia having given signs of concern with regard to China’s increasing assertiveness, this new move by Moscow simply emphasizes that Beijing should be cautious. Not being cautious might precipitate military cooperation among a formidable array of opponents. Neither the Russians nor the Indians have etched anything in stone, but it is clear what the potentials are. Moscow and New Delhi are clearly suggesting that Beijing control its conduct in areas where the interests of many nations intersect.


  2. Has the Russian Bear ever stopped their expansionist goals that basically started with Czar Peter the Great & later Catherine the Great; ending with the last Czar in the Romanov line? Then with the succession of Lenin, Stalin et. al. such schemes continued under the Communist Banner of Global conquest which later ended. But ah-ha picked up again; by Putin after the lull & democratic experimentation in Russia! The Bear is still the Bear in the bigger global arena of Superpower Chess game strategy, of international politics & spheres of influence. Daniel: Independent Scholar: Sociology/History


  3. Interesting. This is clearly direceted against China, albeit the Japanese do not appreciate the event. India would be better off seeking naval cooperation and possibly bases with the Phillippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. There is the area where their commercial and naval interests lie, not in the Sea of Japan. This is a political move for India to shore up support from Russia. Japan is an important trading partner for India and their maratime interests share much in common. I would look for a future India/Japan joint naval exrecise next year.


  4. Thank you Dr. Gregor for your clear and helpful analysis. I learn so much from the both of you!


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