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    Russian naval task force to leave for Indian Ocean on Dec. 9

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    A task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet will leave its main base in Vladivostok on December 9 to take part in joint naval drills with the Indian navy in the Indian Ocean, a fleet official said on Thursday.

    VLADIVOSTOK, November 27 (RIA Novosti) - A task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet will leave its main base in Vladivostok on December 9 to take part in joint naval drills with the Indian navy in the Indian Ocean, a fleet official said on Thursday.

    According to the official, the task force will comprise the Admiral Vinogradov, an Udaloy class missile destroyer, a tugboat, and two tankers.

    "The task force will participate in the joint naval exercises INDRA-2009 with the Indian navy in January," the source said.

    INDRA is a biennial Russian-Indian exercise aimed at practicing cooperation in enforcing maritime law and countering piracy, terrorism, and drug smuggling. INDRA-2009 is the fourth such exercise since 2003.

    "The exercises will involve a number of artillery and missile live-firing drills," the official said.

    The task force will also conduct joint exercises with a task force from Russia's Northern Fleet, led by the Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser, which will arrive in the Indian Ocean after joint drills with the Venezuelan Navy scheduled for December 1.

    Following the exercises, the Russian warships will pay visits to several ports in Indonesia and China.

    Vice Admiral Konstantin Sidenko, commander of the Pacific Fleet, earlier said that Russian warships from the fleet would make several long-range training sorties in the South Pacific and Indian oceans in 2009, and participate in a number of exercises involving live-firing drills.

    Russia announced last year that its navy had resumed and would build up a constant presence in different regions of the world's oceans.

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