India, Pakistan to be part of anti-terror SCO drill in Russia next month

Militaries of India and Pakistan will be part of a mega anti-terror drill in Russia next month which is being organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with an aim to expand cooperation among the member countries to deal with terrorism and extremism.

Around 200 Army and Air Force personnel from India will be participating in the exercise scheduled from August 20-29 at Chelyabinsk city in west-central Russia. The exercise will be joined by all SCO member countries including Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The drill, “Peace Mission”, will take place nearly three months after the SCO, in its annual summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao, resolved to deepen cooperation among their militaries to deal with threats of terrorism, extremism, and separatism. On the sidelines of the exercise, military officials of the SCO countries are likely to deliberate on ways to enhance cooperation to stop the spread of terrorist ideologies and eliminate factors and conditions that facilitate terrorism and extremism.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organizations which account for almost 44 percent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea. The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability, and security of the region.

India feels that as an SCO member, it will be able to play a major role in addressing the threat of terrorism in the region. It is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defense.

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