Indo-Pak first joint exercise in Russian Federation

While India and Pakistan will participate in a multilateral counter-terrorist military exercise in Russian Federation later this year as part of their obligations as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, soldiers from both countries have cooperated and worked together in third countries for over 60 years.

All SCO members are expected to participate in the drill that is aimed at enhancing counter-terror cooperation among the SCO countries.

Although India and China have had numerous joint military exercise in the past, it took a break since the two nations faced off in Doklam.

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The officials said India's participation at the exercise was confirmed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during a meeting of SCO Defence Ministers' meeting in Beijing last week. Now, the grouping has eight full members, including India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. SCO now represents over 40 per cent of humanity and almost 20 per cent of the global GDP. Earlier, they were included as observers in 2005.

The officials said that the drill will be held in Russia's Ural mountains and all the SCO members will take part in it. Peace Mission - the exercise - is aimed at enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism among the member countries. By being part of the SCO, India hopes to play a major role in addressing the threat of terrorism and deepen security cooperation with SCO nations and secure the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS). Such a body will allow India, which is still being denied a permanent seat at the UNSC, to have a more prominent say in world affairs, while going along with the nation's traditional foreign policy of "balance" and non-alignment. Now, with a new resolve by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, both the nations expect to resume the military drill.

The Pakistan Foreign Office, in a statement on Tuesday, paying tribute to the seven decades of relations between the two countries, said the Pakistan-Russia friendship is fast evolving into a mature partnership, Geo TV reported.

  • Sonia Alvarado