New Delhi, July 12: The India and Pakistan armies, ranged against each other on volatile borders and the Line of Control (LoC) between the two countries, will participate in a counter-terrorist exercise in Russia next month. It will be the first military collaboration between the two countries since 1947 when they won independence. However, India and Pakistani soldiers have worked together in third countries for over 60 years in peacekeeping operations under the United Nations.
India will be sending 200 troops, mainly of the 5 Rajput Regiment and airmen of the Indian Air Force, to take part in the military exercise to be held under the umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) from August 22 to 29 at Chelyabinsk in west-central Russia, according to Russia’s Sputnik news. In all, around 3,000 troops from India, Pakistan, Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan will take part in the exercise. With over 70 percent of India’s military assets being of Russian origin, the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force will not be sending any of their military assets, as the soldiers will use Russian equipment. “The Indian contingent will be led by a Brigadier-rank officer and is expected to fly out in an IL-76 with their weapons. Tanks and other heavy equipment will be provided by the Russian armed forces to be used by the Indian troops from our mechanized units,” Sputnik said citing an unnamed source. India and China have held a military exercise called “Hand-in-Hand” in the last few years. This year, the two armies are likely to resume their bilateral military exercise in September after the cancellation of last year’s drill following a border standoff in Doklam. (IANS)