Russian Troops Land in Pakistan For Joint Training Exercise

A contingent of Russian Army has arrived in Pakistan to participate in joint training exercise — ‘DRUHZBA-5’.

“Russian Federation Special Forces’ contingent arrived in Pakistan for 2 weeks long joint exercise DRUZHBA 5,” country’s military media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a tweet on Thursday.

“Defense and security ties are improving between Pakistan and Russia…”

According to ISPR, the exercise is aimed at sharing both armies’ experiences in counter-terrorism domain.

“Sky diving and hostage rescue operations will be highlights of exercise #DRUZHBA,” it added.

The joint exercises are seen as another step in growing military-to-military cooperation, indicating a steady growth in the relationship between the two countries, whose ties had been marred by Cold War rivalry for decades.

Pakistan in August 2018 wrapped up a groundbreaking contract with Russia, that for the first time, opened doors for Russian military training of Pakistani army officers.

The rare security training agreement came amid deteriorating relations between Islamabad and the United States, which has resulted in the halt of all military exchange programs with Pakistan and left a void that Moscow has stepped in to fill.

“Defense and security ties are improving between Pakistan and Russia but these will remain hamstrung till Pakistan has sufficient money to buy Russian defense technologies and India diminishes as a major client of Russian weapons”, says a senior Pakistani defense official.

“I don’t see this happening in next decade to say the least,” the official tells DesPardes on condition of anonymity as he’s not authorized to comment officially.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad-Moscow security partnership has strengthened and expanded since late 2014, when the two former rivals signed their defense cooperation agreement.

In September this year, a contingent of the Pakistan armed forces participated in the opening ceremony of multinational military exercises titled ‘Kavkaz 2020’ in the Russian city of Astrakhan.

Pakistan had also participated in the similar series of exercises called ‘Tsentr 2019’, in Russia last year. The wargames were joined by troops from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and other countries.

Pakistan-Russia joint military exercises Druzhba (friendship) started in 2016. These exercises, held every year, include aspects of counter-terrorism and special operations.