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Monday 9 September 2019

India, Pakistan to Take Part in Joint anti-Terror Drill

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NEW DELHI (IANS) — New Delhi: India will participate in a joint international military anti-terrorist exercise with Pakistan starting Monday, despite tensions between the two countries on the Line of Control (LoC) on the Kashmir issue.

The 15-day military exercise begins Monday in Orenburg, Russia, under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), supported by China. In addition to India and Pakistan, the host country Russia, as well as China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, also participate in the annual military training exercise.

“The exercise aims at evolving drills of the participating armies and practicing them in the fight against the scourge of international terrorism thereby ensuring military security in the strategic central Asian region”, a statement from the Indian defence ministry said.

The exercise named TSENTR 2019 — comprises two modules including one on counter-terror operations, repelling air strikes, reconnaissance operations and defensive measures. The second module focuses on offensive operations.

The Russian military drill is the first instance this year when armed forces from the nuclear-powered neighbours — India and Pakistan, will participate at a common platform ever since the Balakot anti-terror airstrikes in February. Diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan reached a new low following the Balakot incident. The relations reached a nadir after India withdrew special status to Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5.

India has been alleging Pakistan of upping the ante at the LoC through continuous ceasefire violations. Pakistan has been alleged of attempts to push through trained militants across the LoC into the Kashmir valley under cover of shelling during these violations.

On the other hand, Pakistan has alleged India of committing large-scale human rights’ violations in Jammu and Kashmir after imposing unprecedented security cover across the valley and cutting of all communication lines.

The exercise, which is being held in the backdrop of these allegations and counter-allegations, will focus on evaluating the level of troop preparedness, acquisition of required skills and raising levels of inter-operability, and demonstrating readiness of participating armies.

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