India will send a tri-services contingent to take part in a multilateral war game in Russia next month, in first such participation in a mega military drill after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, official sources said. China, Pakistan and a number of other member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) are expected to participate in the Kavkaz 2020 strategic command-post exercise, they said.
Around 150 Indian Army troops, 45 Indian Air Force personnel and a number of Navy officers will form the Indian contingent for the exercise scheduled to be held in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia from September 15 to 26, the sources said.
In June, a tri-services contingent from India participated at the Victory Day Parade at the iconic Red Square in Moscow to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War. A contingent from China had also attended it. The invite for the exercise comes at a time when India and China are locked in a bitter border row in eastern Ladakh. Both India and China are members of the SCO, an influential regional grouping. Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. Both the countries are holding talks at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the dispute.
Russia has already said that India and China should resolve the border dispute through talks and that a “constructive” relationship between the two countries was important for regional stability. The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations which accounts for almost 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. The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability and security of the region. India became a member of SCO in 2017.
It will be the first major multilateral military exercise in which India is participating after the coronavirus pandemic broke out.