Beijing: The six member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in which India has an observer status, will stage a major joint anti-terrorism drill from August 9 to 17, China’s Ministry of Defence announced here.
The exercises, dubbed “Peace Mission 2007”, will be carried out in Chelyabinsk in Russia’s Ural Mountains region and in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
All six SCO members, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will take part.
Altogether 1,600 soldiers from China’s army and air force, including airborne and logistic units will participate in the drill. “In the past, China mainly sent navy forces to bilateral and multilateral military exercises,” said Ou Yangwei, professor at the National Defence University.
“This is the first time China has sent airborne units to drills abroad,” Ou added. “More units will take part in joint military drills in the future.”
The exercises will explore ways of combating terrorism, separatism and extremism. Heads of SCO member countries and their defence ministers will watch the joint military exercises.
It was however, not clear if observer states which include India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia were allowed to send representatives to witness the anti-terror exercise.
The release further added that the drill does not target other countries and also does not involve interests of countries outside the SCO.