India, China, Pakistan to participate in military exercise in Russia next month

Far away from the border hostilities, militaries of India, China and Pakistan will be carrying out drills together in Russia next month.

An Indian military contingent will take part in “Kavkaz 2020” (“Caucasus 2020”), strategic command-post exercise next month where various countries, including China and Pakistan, will also take part.

The Indian contingent would include around 180 troops and officers from across infantry, artillery, mechanised, and armoured forces along with Special Forces, air defence and signals. The contingent would also include personnel from the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Sources said China is sending an army contingent and three ships as part of its naval deployment to the exercise.

The exercise to be held next month will include 19 counties including host Russia where over 12,500 troops will participate.

Other than the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members, that include India, China, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, 11 other countries will be part of the exercise. The other nations included in the drills are Mongolia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Belarus, Turkey, Armenia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

The exercise will be held in Astrakhan region of South Russia between September 15 and 26.

The aim and scope of the exercise is to improve cooperation. The idea is for militaries to prepare for joint action with units of armies of foreign states.

All participating nations will be required to strictly follow Covid-19 protocols. After a Covid test, the participants will spend 14 days preceding the departure in quarantine and will be tested again on arrival in Russia.

The joint exercise is of immense significance as it comes amid the over three-month-long standoff between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been a breakthrough and the deadlock continues.

There have been several clashes between Indian and Chinese troops without the use of firearms and 20 Indian soldiers were killed in one of such melees in Galwan on June 15. There were casualties on the Chinese side but those were not made public by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.

Other than the tensions with China, Indian and Pakistani armies have been involved in frequent skirmishes at the Line of Control (LoC).

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