India, Pakistan and China to join multi-nation military drill in Russia
30 April 2018
India, Pakistan and China will participate in a multi-nation counter-insurgency exercise in the Ural mountain ranges in Russia, sometime in September this year, as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s counter-terror cooperation.
All SCO members are expected to participate in the drill that is aimed at enhancing counter-terror cooperation among the SCO countries.
This will be the first time after Independence that Indian and Pakistani forces come together for a multi-nation exercise. The exercise will have participation of other SCO members, including China. The objective of such a military exercise is to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the SCO countries.
India and Pakistan had earlier participated in joint UN peacekeeping missions.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman is reported to have confirmed India’s participation in the multi-lateral military drill.
India and Pakistan are now full members of the SCO, which was founded in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India's membership was strongly pushed by Russia while Pakistan was backed by China. With the expansion of the grouping, SCO now represents over 40 per cent of the world's population and nearly 20 per cent of the global GDP.
SCO sources said the main aim of the exercise, 'Peace Mission’, will be to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a China-dominated security grouping, however, is seen more as a counterweight to US-led NATO.
The two countries have been SCO observers since 2005. 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).
While India and China have been holding joint military exercise for years, last year’s border stand-off had come in the way of the exercise. Now, with a new resolve by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, both the nations expect to resume the military drill.