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India, China troops to take part in Russian exercise, Pakistan may join


Amid a stalemate in talks between New Delhi and Beijing following the military standoff in eastern Ladakh, Indian and Chinese troops will participate in an international exercise in Russia next month.

This will be the first time that troops of the two countries will see each other in a friendly exercise since tensions began along the LAC in Ladakh early May.

India will send a tri-services contingent to participate in Exercise Kavkaz, to be held in southern Russia between September 15 and 27.

While it is learned that China has confirmed its participation, Pakistan is also likely to send its troops for the exercise. The Indian contingent will include a company-level strength of approximately 180 troops from an infantry battalion, 40 personnel of the Air Force, and two Navy officers as observers.

In all, 13,000 troops will participate in the exercise, sources in the defence establishment said.

Also Read: China, Pakistan may set up Joint Military Commission amid border tussle with India

China, it is learnt, is likely to participate with a substantial number of naval surface combatants. Since 2018, an increasing number of nations have been participating in these exercises, which, the source in defence establishment said, until then was limited to Russian armed forces, or took the form of bilateral exercises with neighbouring east European countries.

In 2018, Exercise Vostok saw participation of China and Mongolia. Exercise Tsentr last year had participation of India, Pakistan and all SCO member-nations.

India had participated in SCO peace mission exercise in 2018, and in 2019, for the first time, was involved in a strategic command and staff exercise as part of Exercise Tsentr.

The aim of the exercise is to “provide real-time training to counter international terrorism in the Northern and Caucasus region”, and the setting “will involve both offensive and defensive operations against international terror”, the source said.