India and Russia are going to begin a series of large-scale military exercises today in the eastern military district of Russia.

The two nations often hold annual naval exercises together; however, this is the first time that they will be engaging all their military services, including armies and air forces.

The Indian defence ministry in New Delhi said in a statement:

The year 2017 marks a major milestone as this exercise has been upgraded to involve all the three services of the armed forces (army, navy and air force. [The games] will provide an opportunity to the armed forces of both countries to train in counter-terrorism operations in a multinational scenario in a joint tri-service environment.

The war games begin today and will continue until 29 October.

Why are India and Russia engaging in war games?

India has long been in a regional dispute with China over a strategically important area in the Himalayas. The area, named Doklam in India and Donglang in China, has been in the middle of a row between the two nations after China attempted to extend a border road in June.

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Doklam/Donglang lies at a junction between China, the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. India supports Bhutan’s claim over the area.

The two nations ended the military stand-off over the area back in August. However, there are still tensions between the two neighbours, particularly as China is expanding its naval presence.

China has also been clashing with the Philippines over its action in the South China Sea.

The war games between India and Russia will be a show of force against China, which is currently holding its most important political event, the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

What will happen during the India Russia war games?

India is set to send over 400 military personnel from its army and air force. As well, it will send military hardware including two aircraft and a frigate warship, to eastern Russia. Russia will have about 1,000 troops ready to take part in the exercise.

The two militaries will be carrying out anti-terrorism drills, as well as professional interactions and establishment of joint command and control structures.