Arch-Rivals India and Pakistan are gearing up to participate in military drills along with China and five other nations next month in Russia under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
The military exercise is intended to amplify harmony among SCO member countries. The SCO military drills will be held from September 16 to 21 in Orenburg in Russia, officials said. India is expected to send a sizeable team of personnel from the Army and the Indian Air Force for the exercise.
India and Pakistan had participated in the previous edition of the exercise last year. It was for the first time since Independence that the two countries were part of a military exercise besides the regular UN peacekeeping missions.
The ties between India and Pakistan are under severe strain after New Delhi repealed provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and divided it into two Union Territories.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005. Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc in 2017.
India’s membership was strongly advocated by Russia while Pakistan’s admission to the SCO was supported by China. With the entry of the two new member countries, the SCO currently represents over 40% of the world population nearly 20% of the global GDP.