BEIJING: Militaries of Pakistan and India will be part of a mega anti-terror drill in Russia next week which is being organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with an aim to expand cooperation among the member countries to deal with terrorism and extremism.
The exercise is scheduled to take place from August 20-29 at Chelyabinsk city in west-central Russia, official sources said here on Sunday.
About 300 servicemen from India and also around 100 Pakistani personnel were the first to arrive in the Chelyabinsk Region aboard Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft.
The exercise will be joined by all SCO member countries including Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan andUzbekistan.
The drill, “Peace Mission”, will take place nearly three months after the SCO, in its annual summit in Chinese city of Qingdao, resolved to deepen cooperation among their militaries to deal with threats of terrorism, extremism and separatism.
“The broad objective of the exercise is to boost cooperation among the SCO countries to deal with challenge of terrorism and extremism,” said a military official.
On the sidelines of the exercise, military officials of the SCO countries are likely to deliberate on ways to enhance cooperation to stop spread of terrorist ideologies and eliminate factors and conditions that facilitate terrorism and extremism, the official said.
About 700 troops and over 100 pieces of military hardware of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take part in the Peace Mission-2018 international counter-terror drills in the Chelyabinsk Region in the Urals, the press office of Russia’s Central Military District reported.
“On the part of the People’s Republic of China, the personnel of a mechanized company, a mixed artillery battery, a command and logistic company, and also a Special Forces group have arrived for the drills, about 700 servicemen in all.
Besides, over 100 pieces of military and special hardware have been delivered by rail, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled howitzers, communications vehicles, and also logistic support vehicles,” the press office said.
Overall, the Peace Mission-2018 drills will involve over 3,000 troops and about 500 pieces of military hardware.
According to Indian media, it will be for the first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will both be part of a military exercise, though the armies of the two nations have worked together in UN peacekeeping missions.
India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005 and they were admitted as full members of the bloc last year.
The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea. The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace.