India withdraws from multilateral war game in Russia's Kavkaz; 20 countries including China, Pakistan to participate
India had earlier planned to send around 150 Indian Army troops, 45 IAF personnel and a number of Navy officers to the military exercise to be held in Kavkaz from 15 to 26 September
New Delhi: India has decided to withdraw from a multilateral war game in Russia next month, government sources said on Saturday, a week after New Delhi had confirmed its participation in the exercise that is also expected to be attended by the Chinese and Pakistani troops.
Last week India had conveyed to Russia that it will participate in the strategic command-post exercise to be held in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia from 15 to 26 September.
Though no reason has been cited officially about India reversing its decision, people familiar with the development said that China's participation in the exercise was a major factor behind the review.
"A decision has been taken to not participate in the exercise," said a source.
It is learnt that the decision was taken following deliberations between the top brass of the military and the ministry of external affairs.
Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a bitter standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh for over three-and-half months. Both the countries are holding talks at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the dispute.
Around 20 countries including all member-nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) including China and Pakistan are expected to participate in the Kavkaz exercise.
India's reconsideration on its participation in the military drill comes ahead of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's scheduled visit to Russia next week to attend a crucial meeting of the SCO.
The SCO defence ministers' meeting is expected to deliberate on regional security scenario and geo-strategic developments.
India had earlier planned to send around 150 Indian Army troops, 45 Indian Air Force personnel and a number of Navy officers to the multilateral military exercise.
Russia has been a major partner of India in the defence sector and the cooperation has been steadily growing further.
In June, a tri-services contingent from India participated at the Victory Day Parade at the iconic Red Square in Moscow to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War. A contingent from China had also attended it.
Both India and China are members of the SCO, an influential regional grouping.
The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.
Both sides had already made it to the quarter-finals, so the Black Panthers will be going through as Group A runners-up.
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