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In faraway Russia, Indian soldiers train with Chinese forces for the sake of regional peace

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Indian contingent at the strategic exercise Zapad-2021 which concluded at Mulino Training Ground, near Nizhniy in Novgograd region, Russia on Wednesday (Image courtesy: Twitter/@ADGPI)

Even as it continues to hold ground in eastern Ladakh and foil infiltration attempts along the Line of Control (LoC), the Indian military has not shied away from participating in multilateral exercises where China and Pakistan are also in attendance.  

This has been proven yet again as around 4000 servicemen, including an Indian military contingent of 200 personnel, are currently taking part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Peace Mission-2021 multilateral exercise at the Donguz training ground in the Orenburg region of South West Russia.  

The joint military anti-terrorist command and staff exercise is conducted biennially as part of military diplomacy between SCO member states. The event, being held from September 13 to 25, is being attended by representatives of eight countries - India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

During the exercise, being held on the territory of Russia's Central Military District (CMD), the military personnel have to work out the tasks of preparing and conducting an anti-terrorist operation by the joint group of troops of the SCO member states.

Themed on the subject of preparation and implementation of joint anti-terrorism operations by troops of SCO member states, the drill will cover a slew of training items, including reconnaissance and monitoring, firepower strike, peripheral blockade and control, sweeping terrorists' dens in streets, forward defence, ground assault, as well as separation, encirclement and annihilation of the terrorists, and resistance to drone attacks.

The Indian contingent comprising an all-arms combined force also includes 38 personnel from the Indian Air Force. According to the defence ministry, the Indian group was inducted to the exercise area by two IL-76 aircrafts and had undergone training and preparation under the aegis of South Western Command before their departure.  

"Exercise Peaceful Mission 2021 is a landmark event in military interactions and global cooperation to counter-terrorism. It will enable sharing of best practices between the armed forces of SCO nations. The exercise will also 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," the ministry said today.  

Russia's Defence Ministry had announced earlier that according to the final protocol, military personnel of China and Kazakhstan will use their equipment at the exercise while representatives of other states will receive it from the Russian side.

The exercise involves the aviation of CMD, in particular, Mi-8 helicopters, SU-24MR reconnaissance aircraft, SU-34 fighter bombers and IL-76 military transport aircraft.

China

Meanwhile, China has sent to Orenburg more than 550 troops along with 130 vehicles, mainly from the PLA Northern Theatre Command, via its Y-20 heavy transport aircraft.  

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of SCO... It has become a major constructive force in international and regional affairs, playing a positive role in safeguarding world peace and regional stability," China's Ministry of National Defence had said last month.

The ministry had revealed that four echelons of the Chinese participating troops had also arrived at the Zabaikalsk railway station in Russia after taking the rail route from the Manzhouli Port of Inner Mongolia in northern China.

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