Only hours after Russia’s state news agency announced the first ever Russia-Pakistan military drill, Russian Embassy in India on Friday night clarified that Russia will not participate in any military exercise in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, including in sensitive areas like Gilgit-Baltistan.
“The only venue of the exercise is Cherat. All reports alleging the drills taking place at the High Altitude Military School in Rattu are erroneous and mischievous,” the Russian Embassy in Delhi said in a statement.
Russian state-run news agency TASS had earlier reported that the opening ceremony will take place at an army school in Rattu in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). However, the information was later taken off from the TASS website.
According to PTI report, a mechanised infantry unit of the Russian military arrived in Pakistan on Friday to participate in the first-ever joint military drills dubbed ‘Friendship-2016’ starting from Saturday, reflecting growing military ties between the two former Cold War rivals.
A statement by Russia’s Southern Military Command said the drills will involve over 70 servicemen of the Southern Military Command, including the Mountain Mobile Brigade’s personnel deployed to the Karachay-Cherkessia Republic (North Caucasus), and also officers from the headquarters staff.
“A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan for first ever Pak-Russian joint exercise from September 24 to October 10,” army spokesman Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted along with some photographs of the Russian and Pakistan troops.
A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived Pak for 1st ever Pak- Russian joint exercise (2 weeks) from 24 Sep to 10 Oct 2016 pic.twitter.com/eWzQMlENL6— Gen Asim Bajwa (@AsimBajwaISPR) September 23, 2016
About 200 troops from the two countries will take part in the two-week long military drills called as ‘Friendship 2016’, which have been termed as a sign of growing military ties between the former rivals of Cold war era.
(With Inputs from PTI)