India-Pak together participate in counter-terror exercise in Russia

NC Network New Delhi,

First time after independence, India and Pakistan will together be part of a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia. The military exercise will be held in September this year and will also be joined by other countries including China. 

Though the armies of the two countries have worked together in UN peace keeping missions earlier, this is the first time the two countries will be participating in a counter-terror excercise, officials said. The participation was confirmed by Minister of Defense Nirmala Sitharaman, during a meeting of SCO Defense Minister's meeting in Beijing last week. 

The military exercise will take place under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a China-dominated security grouping which is increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO, officials said. India's membership was strongly pushed by Russia while Pakistan's entry into the grouping was backed by China. With expansion of the grouping, SCO now represents over 40 per cent of humanity and nearly 20 per cent of the global GDP. 

The main aim of the exercise, Peace Mission, will be to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005. Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc last year.

India feels that as an SCO member, it will be able to play a major role in addressing the threat of terrorism in the region. It is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

India has been holding military exercise with China. The two countries are likely to resume their bilateral military exercise in September. Last year the drill was suspended following a tense standoff between their troops in Doklam.

with inputs from PTI

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