India, Pakistan to partake joint counter terrorism exercise

India, Pakistan to partake joint counter terrorism exercise

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan, notwithstanding their political tension, will participate in an eight country joint counter-terrorism exercise to be hosted by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Among other defence-related activities planned by the group, India plans to host SCO military conference in Delhi in September-October, Economic Times (ET) has learnt. The SCO joint counter-terror military exercise is expected to take place in Kazakhstan’s Sary Arka region as part of the SCO’s agenda to combat common threat from terror, drugs smuggling and transnational crimes in the region, officials familiar with the matter said.

SCO’s Regional Anti-Terror Structure (RATS), based in Tashkent, is currently in the process of finalising the dates for the exercise in consultation with all SCO member states, ET learnt. The exercise could be held in September.

India and Pakistan became full-fledged members of the SCO in 2017, increasing the membership of the group to eight. The two nations had also taken part in an SCO joint military exercise in 2017 which took place in Russia. The exercise witnessed the participation of troops from India, Pakistan, China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, which together constitute the SCO.

RATS has been insisting that all member countries of the SCO, including India and Pakistan, must give an unconditional commitment to terrorism and separatism. Terrorism was high on the agenda of the SCO summit in Bishkek. Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted India’s concern over terrorism and called for a concerted global campaign against the menace. India and Pakistan are both members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and will participate in a joint counter-terror exercise, the council of regional anti-terrorist structure (RATS) informed on Friday.

Amid tensions between India-Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack and following air strikes afterward, the two countries will participate in an upcoming joint counter-terrorism exercise. The joint-military exercise will take place in Kazakhstan's Sary Arka region in 2019. Previously, both the nations had taken part in a joint military exercise in 2017 which took place in Russia. It was in 2017 when India and Pakistan became full-time members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Though the RATS announced that India-Pakistan will participate in 2019 join military exercise, however, it did not reveal when it will take place.