China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sent a delegation to Russia for this year’s edition of the International Army Games, Russia’s largest multinational military exercise that will be held in August.
The PLA military personnel, tanks, and vehicles set out from Manzhouli in China’s Inner Mongolia onboard a train to Zabaikalsk in far east Russia, reported China’s state-owned CCTV on July 25.
Initiated by the Russian Defense Ministry, the International Army Games were first held in 2015. It involves various competitions between participating countries to prove the most skilled side, which is why the event is also dubbed the ‘War Olympics.’
So far, 275 teams from 37 countries have confirmed their participation in 36 competitions. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, these competitions will be held from August 13 to 27 in 12 countries.
The countries participating include Iran, Venezuela, India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, and Armenia. Niger and Rwanda will debut this year in the Games.
Infantry Vehicle Fighting Competition In China
China, which has been regularly participating in the Games since 2015, will host three competitions, including an infantry fighting vehicles game and a frigate race.
In the infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) game, the participants have to prove their infantry vehicle maneuvering skills and precision shooting abilities.
The infantry fighting vehicle competition, also known as Suvorov Attack Contest, takes place in Korla in China’s Xinjiang region. The participating teams are known to be provided the ZBD-86A IFVs by China.
The teams in their ZBD-86As were supposed to tackle different obstacles and drive through water to reach a designated area before everyone else and then shoot at speed to prove their ability to destroy targets precisely.
China, Russia, and Iran Make Inroads In The Western Hemisphere
This year’s International Army Games will be memorable, considering it will occur amid tensions between Russia and the West because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Interestingly, Venezuela will also be hosting the Sniper Frontier competition as part of the games, marking the first time a Russian-led exercise will take place in the Western Hemisphere.
Last year, the Sniper Frontier competition was hosted by Vietnam. According to the information on Vietnam People’s Army’s website, this competition takes place in four stages, in which the first stage is an individual skill assessment, the second stage is a pair assessment, the third stage is a team assessment, and the fourth stage is a speed assessment.
The three weapons used for the competition were the Makarov K59 pistol, the AK74 automatic rifle, and the 7.62 mm SVD sniper rifle.
According to the Center for a Secure Free Society, a US-based think tank, Vietnam hosting one of the competitions of the games is a “strategic move” by Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and China (VRIC), the countries that seek to “preposition forward-deployed military assets in Latin America and the Caribbean” to signal to Washington that the “region is ready to embrace the multipolar force.”
Recently, Russian President Putin emphasized the issue of multipolarity in his speech on June 17, when he said that the US has not noticed that new power centers are emerging and developing their political system and economic growth model and, they have the right to protect them and to ensure national sovereignty.
“After claiming victory in the Cold War, the United States declared it was the messenger of God on Earth, who has no obligations, but only interests – and these interests are sacrosanct,” President Putin said at the plenary meeting of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“The United States is ostensibly unaware that over the past decades, new powerful centers have emerged around the globe, and their voice is heard ever louder,” President Putin continued.
The Russian-led exercise in the US’ backyard comes after 14 NATO member countries took part in a 13-day maritime exercise in the Baltic region, called the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2022. The exercise involved over 7,000 sailors, airmen, marines, 75 aircraft, and 45 ships.
The US, Norway, the UK, Germany, France, and Belgium participated in the exercise. Finland and Sweden, which are not NATO members and have just applied for membership following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, also partook in the exercise.