Russia to hold joint military exercise with China, Shanghai group
Moscow, June 2 (UNI) Russian Ground Forces Commander General Alexei Maslov today said Russia will hold a large-scale counter-terrorism military exercise with China and the Shanghai group, in August.
''The main exercise out of the six international counter-terrorism manoeuvres planned for the year, will be a joint exercise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in August,'' Maslov said.
He said the exercise will be held in the Russian Urals and will involve 500 vehicles from Russia and China, about 2,000 Russian and 1,600 Chinese personnel, a company from Tajikistan, and smaller units from other members, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
He pointed out China has yet to decide how its troops would be transited through Kazakhstan, adding he has already suggested an alternate route directly across the Sino-Russian border in the Far East.
In line with its charter, SCO focuses on fighting drugs and arms trafficking, terrorism and separatism. It has conducted a number of joint military exercises since 2003.
Earlier this week, Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said SCO would not turn into a military bloc, countering US and NATO influence in oil-and-gas-rich Central Asia.
Russia also held its first-ever joint military exercise outside the SCO framework with China in 2005, several exercises with SCO observer-member India, and has raised the prospect of the other two SCO observers, Pakistan and Iran, participating in such military exercises in the future.