India and 18 other countries will take part in a multilateral military exercise being hosted by Russia
NEW DELHI: Indian soldiers will take part in combat drills with troops from China and Pakistan, amidst the ongoing military confrontation with the former and border hostilities with the latter, in a multi-nation exercise being organised by Russia next month.
A tri-Service Indian contingent of around 200 officers and troops will take part in the Kavkaz 2020 (Caucasus 2020) “strategic command-post exercise” in the Astrakhan region of south Russia from September 15 to 26.
With Indian and Chinese soldiers locked in the military confrontation in eastern Ladakh since early-May, which even led to a bloody skirmish with casualties on both sides in Galwan Valley on June 15, India’s participation in the exercise has raised some eyebrows. China, in fact, is learnt to be sending a large contingent, along with three ships, for the exercise.
“But it’s not as if our troops are going to exercise with just Chinese and Pakistani soldiers. It’s a multilateral exercise being hosted by Russia, with participation from at least 18 countries,” said a senior officer.
“Like India, Pakistan and China have also been invited as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. We have participated in such exercises, which have included China and Pakistan, in the past,” he added.