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In historic first, India may participate in military exercises in Pakistan

NEW DELHI: Amid signs of improved relations, India could take part in a multi-nation exercise to be hosted by Pakistan later this year in Pabbi in Nowshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to Indian media reports, it would be a historic event if the plan goes through, given that it would be the first time that Indian forces will travel to Pakistan for any military exercise.

The exercise will be held under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Indian media reported that a final decision was yet to be taken about the actual participation of Indian troops in the joint exercise

The development comes at a time when Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa last week stressed on the need for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move forward”. Just weeks ago, the two countries had agreed to observe ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).

The report cited sources saying that the proposal is under consideration of India’s National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). However, they did confirm that India will be participating in a joint army exercise under SCO umbrella in Russia later this year.

The decision to hold “Pabbi-Antiterror-2021” was announced during the 36th meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The meeting was attended by delegations from India, Kazakhstan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the RATS Executive Committee.

A Pakistani delegation had visited Tashkent-based RATS of the SCO in February to finalise the design and preparation of the army exercise likely to be in second half of the year.

India had withdrawn from a multilateral military exercise Kavkaz-2020 that was scheduled to be held in Russia in September last year as it did not want to perform drills with Chinese soldiers.

In 2018, India and Pakistan had come together for a joint military exercise under the umbrella of the SCO. At that time, a video of Indian and Pakistani troops dancing together had gone viral.

 

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