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Pakistan participates in military exercises with Turkey, Azerbaijan

Turkish, Pakistani and Azerbaijani troops attend the opening ceremony of the joint military drill in Baku. Source: Anadolu Agency.

BAKU: The first-ever trilateral military exercise ‘Three Brothers-2021’ has begun in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The contingents of Special Forces from Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey are participating in the exercise, the first such drills between the three countries.

The exercise will continue till 22nd August and it will further strengthen trilateral cooperation among three brotherly countries. The goal of the “Three Brothers – 2021” exercises is to improve cooperation between their special forces and to share knowledge and experience, the ministry said in a statement.

The exercises kicked off with a solemn opening ceremony in Baku on Sunday. The national anthems of the participating countries were played and their flags raised and a minute of silence was also observed to commemorate their martyrs. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Lt Gen Hikmat Mirzayev, Azerbaijan’s special forces commander, said he was pleased to see the representatives of Turkish and Pakistani special forces in his country.

He was referring to the Nagorno-Karabakh war, which began last September and ended six weeks later following a Russia-brokered truce in November. Azerbaijan liberated several cities and some 300 settlements and villages after a nearly three-decade occupation.

“Today, cooperation between our countries in all areas is at the highest level. Important measures are being taken to further strengthen and develop our relations to ensure the region’s and peoples’ security,” Mirzayev said.

He hoped that the exercises, which will be held until Sept. 20, will provide an extensive exchange of experience and views between servicemen of the three countries and will “greatly contribute” to further improvement of the professional training.

The heads of Turkish and Pakistani delegations, Lt Col Kursat Konuk and Lt Col Aamir Shahzad, said the existing bond of friendship between the nations and armies “would stand the test of time” in a rapidly changing global environment. The “three brothers will grow closer” as reliable regional partners and collaborators despite international political changes, they added.

In July, Turkish, Azerbaijani and Pakistani parliament speakers accepted the Baku Declaration in a ceremony held at the Azerbaijani Parliament.

The joint declaration emphasizes the need to strengthen cooperation among the three countries, based on cultural and historical ties, mutual respect and confidence. It also emphasises Turkey, Azerbaijan and Pakistan’s roles in building peace, stability and development in their regions.

Turkey and Azerbaijan held joint live fire drills in Baku earlier this year. Ankara last year backed Azerbaijan’s effort to drive ethnic Armenian forces out of swathes of territory they had controlled since the 1990s in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.