The first Druzhba-2016 (Friendship-2016) Russian-Pakistani joint military exercise commenced on 24 September 2016 in Cherat, Pakistan. The exercise will conclude on 10 October 2016.
The drills are being conducted at the Pakistan Army’s High Altitude School at Rattu in Gilgit-Baltistan and at a special forces training centre at Cherat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Key highlights of the exercise
• About 200 soldiers from both the sides are taking part in the two-week exercise.
• The drill involves experience sharing.
• It aims at developing coordination in carrying out practice combat tasks in a mountainous environment, including operations against illegal armed groups.
• Russia and Pakistan, the former Cold War-era rivals, are conducting their first-ever military exercise, which signifies shifting alliances in South Asia.
• During the Cold War, Pakistan spent a decade helping the United States funnel arms and fighters into neighbouring Afghanistan to help Mujahideen groups fight Soviet soldiers following their 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.
• Druzhba-2016, the high-altitude drill, is being seen as a demonstration of closer defence ties between the Islamabad and Moscow after they signed a military cooperation pact in 2014.
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When: 24 September 2016