Indian and Chinese troops are set to take part in military exercises in Russia later this month, the first such major war games to be hosted by Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February.
China’s Defence Ministry in Beijing on Wednesday in a statement announced the participation of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the exercises, adding that “India, Belarus, Tajikistan, Mongolia and other countries will also participate”.
India has also indicated its participation in the war games. There was no response from the Indian Army on Wednesday to questions on India’s participation.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said last month the Vostok (East) 2022 exercises will be held from August 30 to September 5 in 13 training grounds in Russia’s Eastern Military District, and that the manoeuvres would include units of airborne troops, long-range bombers and military cargo aircraft.
It remains unclear if Indian and Chinese troops will be present together or if they will take part in different drills which will be spread across the 13 different training grounds.
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The Chinese Defence Ministry statement noted the exercises were “unrelated to the current international and regional situation” and were aimed at “deepening the pragmatic and friendly cooperation with the militaries of participating countries, enhancing the level of strategic coordination of all participating parties, and enhancing the ability to deal with various security threats”.
Indian and Chinese troops have remained in a stand-off that has lasted for more than two years along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh following the transgressions by the PLA in April 2020. Disengagement has taken place in some areas along the LAC but talks to restore the status quo in the remaining friction areas in Hot Springs, Demchok and Depsang have been slow-moving.