New Delhi: This is an interesting piece of news amid tensions between India and Pakistan over the abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir. The Indian army is going to take part in Tsentr 2019. Pakistan too has got an invitation from Russia and so the Pakistan contingent will also be a part of it. But the recent tensions between India and Pakistan has made for interesting dynamics at one of the biggest multinational military exercise event.
Exercise Tsentr 2019 is part of the annual series of large scale Russian Armed Forces' annual training cycle. The series rotates through the four main Russian operational strategic commands. Russia holds a major military exercise every year at one of its four military Commands, Vostok (East), Zapad (West), TSENTR (Centre) and Kavkas (South). This year the exercise is planned between September 9 to September 23, 2019, at Donguz training ranges, Orenburg, Russia.
The exercise used to be conducted by the Russian armed forces alone, but in a sign of its expansion, Russia invited China to join in 2018. That joint exercise ended up being of the biggest multinational military exercises ever in which a total of about 300,000 troops took part. This time Russia invited India to be a part of the mega drill which New Delhi readily accepted. Apart from India, military contingents from China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan will also take part in this exercise. Now in the changed environment of strategic affairs between India and Pakistan it has become very interesting to see how the things turn up.
Pakistan has not just vociferously objected to Indias decision of repealing Article 370 but left no stone unturned to internationalise the Kashmir issue. Pakistan PM is still tweeting on a regular basis appealing world community to interfere. India, on the other hand, has continuously maintained its stand that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one.
Now with Russia's invitation to Pakistan, it is confirmed that Moscow is taking steps towards increasing closeness with Islamabad. How comfortable will India be with Russia on this and which direction will these dynamics shape up, only time will tell.