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China and Pakistan to 'observe' as India takes part in ZAPAD wargames in Russia

The annual exercise, which will begin on September 3, will see 200 personnel from the Indian Army’s Naga Battalion honing their skills with the military of 17 nations. 

China and Pakistan to observe as India takes part in ZAPAD wargames in Russia-VPN
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New Delhi, First Published Sep 1, 2021, 6:48 PM IST
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Indian Army will participate in a multi-nation wargame ZAPAD being held at Nizhniy in Russia to enhance military and strategic ties amongst participating countries. China and Pakistan will take part as observers. 

The annual exercise, which will begin on September 3, will see 200 personnel from the Indian Army’s Naga Battalion honing their skills with the military of 17 nations. 

ZAPAD 2021 is a theatre-level exercise being conducted by the Russian armed forces that primarily focused on anti-terror operations. Over a dozen nations from the Eurasian and South Asian regions will join the exercise.

Also See: Photos of Indian Army in action in Russia's Volgograd

Before leaving for Russia, the Indian troops were put through a strenuous training schedule that comprised of mechanised, airborne and heliborne, counter-terrorism, combat conditioning and firing operations.

The countries included China, Pakistan, Armenia, Belarus, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Vietnam, Serbia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. 

The exercise, which serves as a cornerstone to the Russian Armed Forces annual training cycle, tests Russia's four main strategic commands -- Zapad (West), Vostok (East), Tsentr (Center) and Kavkaz (Caucasus) on rotation.

A 140-member Indian Army contingent had participated in Exercise Tsentr in 2019. India had stayed away from the 2020 Kavkaz exercise, citing the Covid-19 pandemic. China and Pakistan had participated in that joint exercise. Another reason why India skipped the Kavkaz exercise was because of its complicated relationship with China in the backdrop of the hostilities in eastern Ladakh.  

In the next few weeks, India will also participate in Shanghai Cooperation Organisation military exercise, in which troops of China and Pakistan will also participate.

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