Press Trust of india

India, Pak to be part of anti-terror SCO drill in Russia

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New Delhi, Jul 15 :  Boosting counter-terror cooperation and evolving a common strategy to deal with radicalisation and separatism will be the focus of a mega military exercise in Russia next month, in which India, Pakistan and other member-nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will participate, officials said today.

Around 200 Army and Air Force personnel from India will participate in the exercise scheduled from August 20-29 at Chelyabinsk city in west-central Russia, they said.

All SCO member-countries, including Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, will be part of the mega 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 disrupting all financial and logistical support for terrorism.

The grouping, in its annual summit in Chinese city of Qingdao in June, had resolved to deepen cooperation among the member countries to deal with threats of terrorism, extremism and separatism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin were among the leaders who had pitched for boosting defence and security cooperation among the SCO countries.

“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.

Sources said various scenarios to deal with any possible terror strikes will be simulated as part of the exercise focused on effectively repulsing such attacks.

On the sidelines of the exercise, military officials of the SCO countries are expected to deliberate on ways to enhance cooperation to stop spread of terrorist ideologies and eliminate factors and conditions that facilitate terrorism and extremism, the military official said.

India has been pressing for global action against Pakistan for allowing “terror safe havens” in its territories and it will be interesting to see how New Delhi push its demand to pile up pressure on Islamabad through the SCO platform.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of largest trans-regional international organisations which accounts for 20 percent of the global GDP and 44 percent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea. The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability and security of the region.

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