NEW DELHI: Anti-terror cooperation and evolving a common strategy to deal with radicalisation and separatism will be the focus of a major military exercise in Russia next month, in which India, Pakistan and other member-nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will participate.
Senior government officials spoke about the exercise on Monday, disclosing that around 200 Indian Army and Indian Air Force personnel will participate in the drill, scheduled from August 20-29 at Chelyabinsk city in west-central Russia.
All SCO member-countries, including Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, will be part of the exercise, taking place nearly three months after the top leadership of the security grouping decided to step up anti-terror cooperation in the region and disrupt all financial and logistical support for terrorism.
During its annual summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June, the grouping had resolved to deepen cooperation among the member countries to deal with the threats of terrorism, extremism and separatism. Top world leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin had pitched for boosting defence and security cooperation among the SCO countries.
On Sunday, a military official said, “The broad objective of the exercise is to boost cooperation among the SCO countries to deal with the challenges of terrorism and extremism.” Sources said various scenarios to deal with any possible terror strikes will be simulated as part of the exercise aimed at effectively repulsing such attacks.
During 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 military official said. The exercise assumes importance since India has been pressing for global action against Pakistan for allowing terrorist safe havens on its soil. It will be interesting to see how India manages to push its demand to pile up pressure on Islamabad through the SCO platform. The SCO is seen as a counterweight to NATO.
Trans-regional international behemoth
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation accounts for 20 per cent of the global GDP and 44 per cent of the world population, stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.