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CDS Gen Rawat attends SCO military exercise in Russia

CDS General Bipin Rawat with General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, Chief of General Staff, Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during meeting in Orenburg at Russia. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Thursday witnessed a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia's Orenburg region that has been organised under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

India has sent a team of 200 personnel for the nearly-two-week-long "Exercise Peaceful Mission" that began on September 13.

Gen. Rawat is on a two-day visit to Russia and he attended the conference of the Chiefs of General Staff of the SCO member states in Orenburg.

"General Bipin Rawat #CDS witnessed the final validation exercise of Multi Nation Exercise #PeacefulMission2021 of #SCO Nations at Orenburg," the Army said in a tweet.

It said the Chief of Defence Staff interacted with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Chief of General Staff, Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and discussed issues of bilateral defence cooperation.

"General Bipin Rawat #CDS interacted with the contingent commanders of participating Nations & members of the #IndianArmy contingent. #CDS lauded them for their high standards of training & professionalism," the Army said.

The exercise provided an opportunity to the armed forces of the SCO nations to train in counter-terrorism operations in an urban scenario in a multinational and joint environment, officials said.

It is learnt that the troops of China and Pakistan were also part of the exercise.

The scope of the exercise included professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills and procedures, the establishment of joint command-and-control structures and elimination of terrorist threats, the officials said.

The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India has shown a keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

India was made an observer at the SCO in 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping, which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.

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