India decides to pull out of Kavkaz 2020 military exercise on Russia due to Chinese participation

Worsening COVID-19 situation in the country another major reason, say sources.

August 29, 2020 08:27 pm | Updated September 04, 2020 11:46 am IST - NEW DELHI

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attends the Victory Day Parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of victory of the Soviet People in the Patriotic War of 1941-1945, at Red Square in Moscow. File

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attends the Victory Day Parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of victory of the Soviet People in the Patriotic War of 1941-1945, at Red Square in Moscow. File

India has withdrawn its participation in Kavkaz 2020 multinational exercise in Russia in September citing logistics difficulties due to COVID-19 pandemic , a defence official said. However, it is mainly due to participation of Chinese troops amid the ongoing standoff in Ladakh, a defence source said.

Also read:China sent martial artists to India border before deadly clash: state media

“Russia and India are close and privileged strategic partners. At Russia's invitation India has been participating in many international events. However, in view of pandemic and consequent difficulties in exercise, including arrangements of logistics, India has decided not to send contingent this year to Kavkaz 2020. The same has been informed to the Russian side,” a Defence Ministry official said late on Saturday.

Apart worsening COVID-19 situation in the country, other reasons include participation of Chinese troops, the defence source cited above stated. Another reason was the participation of Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the exercise which have only been recognised by Russia and few other countries, a second source said.

The standoff on the border in Eastern Ladakh with China has been ongoing since first week of May and several rounds of talks for disengagement have failed to end the impasse.

Invitees include Pakistan, Turkey

The invitees to Kavkaz 2020 strategic command-postexercise, also referred to as Caucasus-2020, to be held in Astrakhan in Southern Russia from September 15 to 26 include China, Pakistan and Turkey apart from other member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) .

As reported by The Hindu on August 07, India had confirmed its participation in the exercise and a triservice contingent consisting of 150 Army personnel and small number of Navy and Air Force personnel had been identified. “All planning has been completed, fund allocation was also done and the personnel started practising for the exercise,” the second source stated.

Also read:Line of Actual Control | India-China: the line of actual contest

In June, India and Chinese military contingents marched at the Victory Day Paradeat Red Square in Moscow to mark the 75th anniversary of World War II. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh represented India at the Parade also attended by his Chinese counterpart though there were no bilateral engagements between them.

Next Week Mr. Singh is scheduled to visit Moscow for participation in the SCO defence ministers meeting also to be attended by his Chinese counterpart.

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