New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) Even as India finds itself in a confrontation with China and Pakistan on its borders, its armed forces will carry out drills with these countries’ militaries next month in Russia.
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, would take part.
The exercise will witness the participation of over 12,500 troops, including from Russia.
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.
China is sending an army contingent, and also a naval deployment of three ships to the exercise.
The drill will be held in Astrakhan region of south Russia between September 15 and 26.
“The aim and scope of the exercise is improving cooperation. The idea is for militaries to prepare for joint action with units of armies of foreign states,” said a senior Defence Ministry officer.
Apart from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members India, China, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the exercise will also have participation of troops from Mongolia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Belarus, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Contingents from Abkhazia, and South Osetia, which are partially recognised by states by Russia and a few other nations, will also be present.
The participating nations will strictly follow Covid-19 protocols. The participants will spend 14 days in quarantine preceding their departure and will be tested for Covid again on arrival in Russia.
The exercise comes amid an over three month long standoff between India and China at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.
There have been several clashes between troops of both sides and the most brutal took place on June 15 in Galwan Valley where India lost 20 of its men while there was undisclosed number of casualties on the Chinese side.