It was meant to be a joint military exercise between India and Russia near the western Indian city of Bikaner.
Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov was sporting sunglasses and a military cap for the event. But things did not go as planned when a heavy mortar-launching system,parachuted from an Indian aircraft, narrowly missed the platform where Ivanov and his Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee, were sitting. Journalists and soldiers were seen running for cover, but Ivanov and Mukherjee remained seated. The Russian defence minister later brushed off the incident. Turning it into a joke, he praised the Indian Air Force for making the structure land between two sand-dunes, saying it was “an ideal concealment from the enemy”. A ceremony took place as scheduled after the incident, when the ministers handed out awards to Indian and Russian officers. The exercises are part of a series of manoeuvres between Russia and two of its major trade partners, India and China. Moscow provides 70 percent of New Delhi’s military equipment.