The armies of India and Pakistan, for the first time, are taking part in a mega anti-terror drill of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Russia.
To deal with the growing menace of terrorism and extremism, the drill is being conducted. For the first time since becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017, India is participating in the drill.
From August 22 to August 29, the joint exercise is being conducted by the Central Military Commission of Russia at Chebarkul, Russia. In 2001, the SCO was established in Shanghai with Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as founding members. In 2017, it expanded to include India and Pakistan.
According to the Chinese media reports, from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan, at least 3,000 soldiers are participating in the drill.
From Uzbekistan, 10 representatives will serve as observers, state-run Global Times reported.
Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing said that due to the entry of India and Pakistan, the SCO's counter-terrorism mission has expanded to South Asia.
The joint exercise will strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability and enable sharing of best practices among armed forces of the SCO nations.
The Indian contingent of 200 personnel is primarily composed of troops from infantry and affiliated arms and services along with the Indian Air Force.
According to curtain raiser of the exercise released by the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi, the Indian contingent has been put through a strenuous training schedule which includes heliborne operations, firing, combat conditioning, tactical operations and house intervention drills.
(With PTI inputs)