Moscow – Longtime foes India and Pakistan have jointly participated in anti-terror drills for the first time with support from Russia and China, which have also joined several other Asian powers in biennial exercises.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization's (SCO) Peace Mission 2018 saw its active phase executed Wednesday, with up to 3,000 troops from China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia and Tajikistan—along with observers from Uzbekistan—and 500 pieces of equipment involved. The drills reportedly included the targeting of mock militant movements, described by NPR as an Islamist caliphate, such as that imagined by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia's Ural Mountains.
"A joint task force is to liberate a town from mock terrorists. According to the plan, drones and Su-24MR [attack aircraft] crews locate main positions of simulated terrorists, followed by aviation, artillery and assault groups of participating countries delivering a strike on aggressor forces," the ministry said.
"The operation involves over 50 aircraft—these are the helicopters and airplanes of Kazakhstan, China and Russia. Besides, there will be an air-landed assault. After the defeat, troops will pursue and eradicate retreating armed gangs," the ministry added.