Even as the relationship between India and Pakistan continues to remain tense, the armies of the two nations will take part in a multi-national military exercise in Russia next week – China will also take part in the exercise. This will be the first time that forces from India and Pakistan will participate in a multilateral exercise together since the airstrikes conducted by Indian forces in Balakot earlier this year. The already fraught relationship between the two countries took a turn for the worse after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last month.
- The two forces had met last year as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – also held in Russia.
- The exercise, to be held for two weeks, from September 9-23, is named TSENTR 2019.
- It is “part of the annual series of large scale exercises that form part of the Russian Armed Forces’ annual training cycle” the Indian Army said.
- It rotates between the four main Russian operational strategic commands.
- The country hosts a “major military exercise every year at one of the military Commands – Vostok in the east, Zapad in the west, TSENTR in the centre and Kavkas in the south.
- The exercise this year will be held at the Donguz training ranges in Orenburg. It took on a multi-country facet “with Belarus participating in ZAPAD-2017 and China and Mongolia participating in VOSTOK-2018”, Indian Army said.
- He added that this year, “invitations for participation have been extended to nine other countries”. Military contingents from China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, along with Russia will participate.
- The “exercise aims at evolving drills of the participating armies and practicing them in the fight against the scourge of international terrorism, thereby ensuring military security in the strategic central Asian region”.
- The exercise this year will “focus on evaluating the level of troop preparedness, the acquisition of the required skills and raising the level of inter-operability and demonstrates the readiness of the participating armies”.