NEW DELHI: Indian and Pakistani soldiers, ranged against each other along the volatile Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, are all set to exercise together as part of a multi-nation counter-terror war game under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Russia next month. 

The exercise “Tsentr-2019”, in which soldiers from China, Russia and other SCO countries are also participating, will be held at Orenburg in Russia from September 10 to 21. Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Turkmenistan will also take part in the war game. 

“The focus of the exercise, for which India will be sending 140 soldiers, will be on the employment of forces for fighting intentional terrorism and for proving military security in the Central Asian region,” said an Army officer. 

The exercise comes at a time when there is mounting pressure on the Pak Army-ISI combine “to show visible action” on the Kashmir front after the Modi government revoked the special status of J&K and moved to split the state into two union territories. 

The Indian security establishment has assessed that the Pak Army-ISI combine is likely to step up ceasefire violations along the LoC, with artillery, heavy mortars and anti-tank guided missiles coming into play, as well as encourage a major terror strike in J&K in the run-up to the Independence Day on August 15, as was reported by TOI earlier. 

It was in 2017 that both India and Pakistan became full members of the SCO, which was constituted by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in 2001. Now the grouping has eight full members, including India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Another four nations have been accorded “observer” status, while six others are “dialogue” partners. 

“During the SCO exercises, the armed forces from the different nations train in counter terrorism operations in a multinational environment. It includes professional interactions, mutual understanding of drills and procedures, establishment of joint command and control structures,” said the officer.