Not holding any anti-terror exercise with Pakistan in sensitive areas: Russia

The joint military exercise was earlier reported to have been cancelled in the wake of the Uri attack. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 23, 2016, 09.21 PM (IST)
Russia on Friday clarified that it will not be holding any anti-terror exercise with Pakistan in Kashmir or in any other "sensitive or problematic areas like Gilgit and Baltistan".

It came soon after a mechanised infantry unit of the Russian military arrived in Pakistan to participate in the first-ever joint military drills dubbed 'Friendship-2016.'

"The only venue of the exercise is Cherat. All reports alleging the drills taking place at the High Altitude Military School in Rattu are erroneous and mischievous," a statement from the Russian Embassy said. 

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had earlier said that India's "sensitivities" towards Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism are well-known and same was also conveyed to its strategic partner Russia. 

Lieutenant-General Asim Saleem Bajwa, the director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces tweeted, "A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan for first ever Pak-Russian joint exercise for two weeks from September 24 to October 10." 

About 200 soldiers from each side will take part in the two-week war games.

Pakistan said the development reflected the increased cooperation between the two countries and "indicates a desire on both sides to broaden defence and military-technical cooperation".

The joint military exercise, starting on September 24, was earlier reported to have been cancelled in the wake of the September 18 attack on an Indian army base in Jammu and Kashmir that left 18 soldiers dead.

(WION with inputs from agencies)