As Russian ground forces contingent arrived in Pakistan on Friday for the first-ever joint military drills, The Russian Embassy in India clarified that reports that the “anti-terror excercise” would be held in PoK are false. It said the drills were being held only in Cherat.
In a Facebook post, the Embassy of The Russian Federation in India has said, “Contrary to some reports appearing in a section of the press, the Russia-Pakistan anti-terror exercise is not being held and will not be held in any point of so-called “Azad Kashmir” or in any other sensitive or problematic areas like Gilgit and Baltistan. The only venue of the exercise is Cherat. All reports alleging the drills taking place at the High Altitude Military School in Rattu are erroneous and mischievous.”
On Friday, Russian News Agency TASS had reported that a mechanised infantry unit of the Russian Southern Military Command had reached Pakistan to take part in joint military drills in Pakistan. According to the report, the military drills are aimed at bolstering and building up military cooperation between both countries.
The military drills increasingly reflect growing military ties between the two former Cold War rivals. Pakistan Army spokesman Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa had said that a contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan for first ever Pak-Russian joint exercise.
Russian troops will be in Pakistan for two weeks from September 24 to October 10. Around 200 troops from the two countries will take part in the two-week long military drills dubbed as ‘Friendship 2016’. The strategic move comes amidst increasing defence ties between Moscow and Islamabad as the latter was also considering purchasing advanced Russian warplanes.
The joint drill is seen as another step in growing military-to-military cooperation, indicating a steady growth in bilateral relationship between the two countries, whose ties had been marred by Cold War rivalry for decades, local media reports said.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had yesterday said that India’s “sensitivities” towards Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism are well-known and same was also conveyed to its strategic partner, Russia.