India, Pakistan to begin first ever ‘combined military drill’

New Delhi: For the first time ever, India and our neighbouring country Pakistan will jointly take part in a military drill under the aegis of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Russia.

The exercise is named as ” Peace Mission-2018+ “, where soldiers from China, Russia and other SCO countries will be participating has begun the drill in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region at 255 Combined Arms Range at Chebarkul, TOI reported.

Speaking of this exercise, Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said: “The exercise will provide an opportunity to the armed forces of SCO nations to train in counter terrorism operations in an urban scenario in a multinational and joint environment. It includes professional interactions, mutual understanding of drills and procedures, establishment of joint command and control structures, and elimination of terrorist threats in mock drills.”

Russia was highest to field its 1,700 soldiers for the exercise, while China fielded 700 soldiers with India fielding 200 soldiers from the Rajput Regiment and IAF personnel.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was constituted in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, which has now added India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan making it a eight member group while another four nations are currently accorded “observer” status with six others are “dialogue” partners.

“Indian soldiers have never actively participated in a multi-lateral exercise that included Pakistan in the past. Troops from the two countries have, however, worked together in UN missions and operations,” said an officer.