New Delhi: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Peace Mission exercise started on Friday in Russia, bringing together the Indian and Pakistani militaries under the anti-terror setting for the first time.
The six-day SCO Exercise, which has brought the two countries together for the Exercise Peaceful Mission 2018, will continue till August 29 at Chebarkul town in Chelyabinsk Oblast in Russia.
The Indian contingent will return on August 30.
The opening ceremony of the peace mission exercise was conducted at the Combined Arms Range at Chebarkul.
It started with a speech by Central Military District Commander Col Gen Alexander Lapin, the Exercise Chief, who exhorted the participating troops to execute all tasks allotted to them in a professional manner.
The meet was declared open with the hoisting of national flags of all member nations, accompanied by respective national anthems. Contingent commanders also addressed the gathering followed by an impressive march past.
The anti-terror drill involves military contingents of all eight member nations and gives them an opportunity to get trained in counter-terrorism operations in urban scenario in a multinational and joint environment.
In the exercise - one of the major defence cooperation initiatives amongst SCO nations - the Russian Army has the major participation of 1,700 personnel followed by China with 700 and India with 200 personnel.
Approximately 3000 troops from the Forces of all eight SCO member states are participating in the exercise. The 200-member strong Indian contingent has 167 Indian Army personnel including four women officers and 33 personnel from the Indian Air Force.
The Pakistan contingent comprises 110 members, while the strength of the Chinese contingent is of 748 personnel.
The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, which was initially created in China with five more members namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were given the status of full members of SOC in 2017.
The SCO is aimed at strengthening mutual trust and partnership among the member states, promoting effective cooperation in trade, research, economy, politics, technology, culture, education, energy, tourism among other things.
(With ANI Inputs)