• India and Pakistan will be part of a multi-nation counter-terror exercise in Russia in September, which will also be joined by China and several other countries.
• The military exercise will take place under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a China-dominated security grouping which is increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO.
• The military drill would be held in the Ural mountains of Russia, and almost all SCO member countries will be part of it.
• It will be for the first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will be part of a military exercise, though the armies of the two nations have worked together in U.N. peacekeeping missions
• The main aim of the exercise, Peace Mission, will be to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight member countries.
• India feels that as an SCO member, it will be able to play a major role in addressing the threat of terrorism in the region.
• It is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.
==> About SCO
• The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
• India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005. Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc last year.
• India’s membership was strongly pushed by Russia, while Pakistan’s entry into the grouping was backed by China.
• With expansion of the grouping, SCO now represents over 40% of humanity and nearly 20% of the global GDP.