For the first time ever, India and Pakistan will take part in a multi-nation counter-terrorism exercise scheduled to be held in Russia in September.
Apart from India and Pakistan, China will also be a part of the military exercise which shall be held under the aegis of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
This would be the first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will take part in a military exercise.
Although India-Pakistan ties remained strained, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed India’s participation during her recent visit to China to attend the SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India’s membership was strongly pushed by Russia while Pakistan’s entry into the grouping was backed by China. With expansion of the grouping, SCO now represents over 40 per cent of humanity and nearly 20 per cent of the global GDP.
With the drill, India-China will also resume their bilateral military exercise, which was suspended after the Doklam standoff.
The development came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day “informal summit” with Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the summit, both leaders had asked their militaries to “enhance predictability” and “effectiveness” in managing border affairs.
Dubbed as “Peace Mission”, the drill will take place in Ural Mountains of Russia with an aim to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.