Islamabad: Pakistani and Indian forces will conduct military drills together for the first-time in September this year.
The armies of the two nations will meet in the Ural Mountains of Russia to participate in the military war games as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), officials said.
The Chinese Army will also participate in the event.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed the Indian army’s participation in the anti-terrorism exercises during her visit to Beijing last week.
Later, Pakistan also announced the participation of its army in the event titled ‘Peace Mission 2018’ as a SCO member.
Russia is reportedly taking the lead in defusing Pakistan-India tensions, which threaten peace in South Asia.
Russia anticipated that both Pakistan and India to give up confrontational attitude and hold talks for peaceful solution to the bilateral issues, according to a report published in Pakistan’s daily newspaper, The Nation.
This would be the first time that nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours would come together for a multi-nation exercise.
However, militaries of Pakistan and India have work together in UN Peace Keeping missions.
The objective of the military drill is to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.
The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organisation, which was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan and India were the observers of the organization earlier but both the countries joined as full members of the bloc in 2017.
Pakistan and India revive Track II diplomacy
In a related development, Pakistan and India have agreed to revive Track II diplomacy indicating a recent thaw in the relations between the two countries, according to media reports.
The original Track II initiative, Neemrana Dialogue, received a fresh start as former Indian diplomats, military veterans and academics travelled to Pakistan to take part in talks that took place from April 28 to 30 to discuss ways to improve the relationship.
Pakistan was represented by former foreign secretary Inam ul Haque and Ishrat Hussain among others. The Indian delegation was headed by former external affairs secretary Vivek Katju while J S Rajput and and Rakesh Sood was also part of the delegation.
The original Track II initiative, known as Neemrana Dialogue, is a non-governmental dialogue which is different from usual interactions between the foreign ministries of two countries. The meeting was seen as a revival of the Neemrana dialogue among former diplomats and military officials on both sides.
The initiative is reportedly been initiated by Pakistan by holding the dialogue in Islamabad as the similar talks have been lately taking place in third countries because of the tensed relations.
No further detail or comment on the meeting was immediately available from Pakistan Foreign Office.