25 September 2016

Russian troops arrive in Pakistan for joint military exercise 'Friendship 2016'

The two-week drill, which begins tomorrow, indicates that both sides want to 'broaden defense and military-technical cooperation', a Pakistani envoy said.

Russian soldiers arrived in Pakistan on Friday for the first-ever joint military exercise between the two countries. Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa, the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations – the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces – confirmed the news on Twitter.

Pakistan's Ambassador to Russia Qazi Khalilullah had told a Russian news agency last week that the drill is an "obvious indication" that both sides want to "broaden defense and military-technical cooperation", according to IANS. Khalilullah confirmed to Pakistani daily The Express Tribune on Friday that the joint Pakistan-Russia military exercise – Friendship 2016 – will take place as scheduled from September 24 to October 7.

Not much is known about the drill, except that it will be conducted in "mountainous areas".

News of this military exercise comes days after it was reported that Russia had called off the drill in the wake of the attack on the Indian Army base in Kashmir's Uri sector, in which 18 soldiers were killed. India blames the terror strike on the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group.

A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived Pak for 1st ever Pak- Russian joint exercise (2 weeks) from 24 Sep to 10 Oct 2016 pic.twitter.com/eWzQMlENL6— Gen Asim Bajwa (@AsimBajwaISPR) September 23, 2016

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