In a rare first, India, Pakistan and China will take part in a multi-nation military drill later this year.
The Indian Defence Ministry has said in a statement that the counter-terror military exercise will take place under the framework of Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) in the Ural Mountains of Russia in September. It is to be noted that SCO is a China-dominated security grouping that is widely considered as a counterweight to NATO.
According to the statement, all the SCO member-countries will participate in the exercise, as the drill is aimed at ensuring peace and strengthening co-operation between them. Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed the South Asian nation’s participation in the exercise, named Peace Mission, during her recent visit to Beijing. Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to bolster bilateral defence ties, mentioning in a joint statement that the Armed Forces of the two countries would strengthen communication, build trust and mutual understanding, apart from enhancing predictability and effectiveness in managing border affairs.
PM Modi & President Xi
According to foreign policy experts, it’s quite obvious that India will have no problem in taking part in a military exercise together with China. For them, it’s surprising that India and Pakistan will participate in a military exercise. The relation between the two arch-rivals is still going through a rough patch, with India accusing Pakistan of violating ceasefire from across the Line of Control and interfering in Kashmir by lending support to militant outfits. However, experts have welcomed New Delhi’s decision, saying that India’s participation in the joint military exercise will certainly be a positive step. They expressed hope that the move might create an opportunity for the two countries to sit together (again).
The Pakistani media, too, have welcomed India’s decision to take part in the drill. Dawn, the frontline Pakistani daily, recently said that the two neighbours should try to resolve their differences like North Korea and South Korea in order to restore peace in the region. In an editorial, the daily said: “Inevitably, a comparison between the renewed engagement between the two Koreas and the freeze in ties in the South Asian subcontinent will be made. The tensions and disputes between Pakistan and India are fundamentally different to the issues between the Koreas.” It added: “Pakistan and India have forged very different and irreversible histories, whereas the Koreas seek unification. Yet, a shared history and the common dreams and aspirations of a people with enduring cultural and other similarities across India and Pakistan make the quest for normalisation and peace in this region the noblest of goals.”
The handshake that made history
The Pak daily recalled that East Germany and West Germany reunited in 1990 even after being two separate nations for 41 years. The Korean peninsula, too, was divided into North and South Korea in 1945 and they have started a peace process after more than six decades. These developments can encourage India and Pakistan to do something similar…
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