By Elton Gomes
For the first time, the militaries of India and Pakistan will participate in an anti-terror drill of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Russia. The drill aims to increase cooperation among the member countries to effectively deal with the menace of terrorism and extremism.
India will be participating in the drill for the first time after it became a full member of the SCO in June 2017. The drill is known as the “Peace Mission,” and will be conducted biennially as part of SCO initiatives. Conducted by the Central Military Commission of Russia, the joint military drill will be held from August 22 to August 29 at Chebarkul, Russia. The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism environment under the SCO Charter.
At least 3,000 soldiers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, and Pakistan will take part in the drill, news agency PTI reported. The drill is set to take place nearly three months after SCO member states resolved to enhance cooperation among their militaries in weeding out threats of terrorism, extremism, and separatism.
“The broad objective of the exercise is to boost cooperation among the SCO countries to deal with challenge of terrorism and extremism,” a military official said, the Hindu reported. The official added on the sidelines of the drill, military officials are likely to discuss ways to expand cooperation to restrict the spread of terrorist ideologies and to eliminate factors that facilitate terrorism.
Colonel Aman Anand, the spokesperson of the Indian army, said, “The exercise will 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. It includes professional interactions, mutual understanding of drills and procedures, the establishment of joint command and control structures and elimination of terrorist threats in mock drills,” the Times of India reported.
The SCO has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations, which accounts for almost 44% of the global population – from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea. The primary objective of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability, and security within the region.
As an SCO member, India feels that it could play an important role in addressing the threat of terrorism. India also seems interested in bettering its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which particularly deals with security and defence issues.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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