India to participate in Kavkaz 2020 exercise in Russia

Invitation has been extended to at least 18 countries including China, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.

Published - August 07, 2020 11:23 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

In a resumption of bilateral and multilateral military exercises which were deferred due to coronavirus ( COVID-19 ), India will take part in the Russian Kavkaz 2020 strategic command-post exercise next month. The invitees for the exercise also include China and Pakistan apart from other member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The invitation for the exercise comes amid the ongoing standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh for over three months now.

A small tri-service contingent will take part in the exercise to be held in Astrakhan in southern Russia, a defence source said. “The Indian contingent includes 150 Army personnel and smaller number of personnel from the Navy and Air Force,” the source stated.

The major war readiness of the Russian armed forces exercise is scheduled to be held from September 15 to 26, a second source said. The invitation for participation to Kavkaz 2020, also referred to as Caucasus-2020, has been extended to at least 18 countries including China, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey apart from other Central Asian Republics part of the SCO, the first source said.

The list of countries which have confirmed participation is still not clear yet as there is still sometime for the exercise. Pakistan, it has been learnt is likely to participate but is yet to take a final decision, diplomatic sources said.

All three Services had deferred all exercises both internally and with other countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June, India and Chinese military contingents marched at the Victory Day Parade at 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.

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