ISLAMABAD - For the first time, the militaries of India and Pakistan are taking part in a mega anti-terror drill of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Russia aimed at expanding cooperation among the member countries to deal with the growing menace of terrorism and extremism.
India is participating in the drill for the first time since becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017. As part of the SCO initiatives, the SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for the SCO member states.
The joint exercise is being conducted by the Central Military Commission of Russia from August 22 to August 29 at Chebarkul, Russia.
The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international counter insurgency or counter terrorism environment under the SCO Charter.
At least 3,000 soldiers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan are participating in the drill, according to the Chinese media reports.
Ten representatives from Uzbekistan will serve as observers, state-run Global Times reported.
The Indian contingent of 200 personnel is primarily composed of troops from infantry and affiliated arms and services along with the Indian Air Force. The Indian contingent has been put through a strenuous training schedule which includes firing, heliborne operations, combat conditioning, tactical operations and house intervention drills, according to curtain raiser of the exercise released by the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi.
The joint exercise will strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability and enable sharing of best practices among armed forces of the SCO nations.
The previous SCO counter-terrorism drills were mainly limited to the Central Asian nations, the Chinese media said.