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Russian Army officers visit mountain combat center in India

MOSCOW, July 14 (RIA Novosti) - A delegation of Russian Ground Forces officers will learn about training troops for mountain warfare during a two-week trip to India that started on Monday, a spokesman for the Russian military said.

Deputy commander Lt. Gen. Valery Yevnevich, along with officers from Russia's mountain brigades and the Far Eastern Military Command officer training school, will visit a training center in Jammu and Kashmir, India's northernmost state, "to see how the Indian troops train for mountainous operations," Col. Igor Konashenkov said.

The visit, which runs until July 30, was agreed in Moscow on June 24 by India's Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor, and Russia's Ground Forces commander, Gen. Alexei Maslov, as part of an extensive military cooperation program.

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.

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