India along with Pakistan will be participating in a multi-nation military exercise to be conducted in Russia in September this year. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday officially announced India’s participation. Chinese forces will also be part of this exercise.
The military exercise in Russia is part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India, China, Russia and Pakistan and other SCO nations are attending the exercise. For the first time, India is attending the Defence Ministers’ meeting at SCO being hosted in China.
Indian and Pakistan soldiers have worked together in the past during the United Nations peacekeeping missions and that to while providing security or in convoy protection deployment. The exercise, “Peace Mission 2018” is scheduled to be held in Russia’s Ural Mountains. It will begin in August-end and conclude in the first week of September. It will be the first-ever exercise in which Indian and Pakistan militaries will be participating together to conduct the mock military operation to fight terrorists. ‘Peace Mission 2018’ will be the fifth edition of the biennial multilateral exercise by the SCO countries. According to sources, India will send a 200-strong contingent to Russia.
India and Pakistan became the full member of the SCO on June 9, 2017. Both the nations were admitted as observers in 2005 in the SCO, which started in 2001 in Shanghai by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Now the Organisation has eight full members ,four nations have been accorded “observer” status, while six others are “dialogue” partners.
During her China visit Sitharaman said, “India enjoys excellent bilateral defence cooperation with a large number of SCO countries, especially with Russia, as well as with all of India’s Central Asian partners represented in the SCO.” The Defence Minister further added, “We are guided in our relations with China by the consensus reached between our leaders that at the time of global uncertainty, India-China relations could be a factor of stability and that we must not allow our differences to become disputes.”