MOSCOW: The Russian Army's Commander-in-Chief Oleg Salyukov on Friday announced that Russian ground forces will hold its first ever military exercises with Pakistan in the coming year, according to TASS news agency.

The Russian Army is scheduled to hold seven international drills in 2016, including the "the first ever Russian-Pakistani special drills in mountainous terrain."

"As part of interaction with our foreign colleagues in 2016, we have scheduled seven joint exercises with the involvement of the relevant units of foreign states," the Russian Army Commander-in-Chief said.

The Russian Army will also hold joint anti-terror command and staff exercises of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as a Russian-Vietnamese exercise, Salyukov added.

Read: Russia to provide counter-terrorism training to Pakistan

"The Peace Mission-2016, the joint drills of peace-keeping forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization code-named Indestructible Brotherhood, the Frontier-2016 joint command and staff drills, the Indra-2016 Russian-Indian exercises and the Selenga-2016 Russian-Mongolian drills will be held," the commander added.

Shanghai Cooperation

Pakistan and India both joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in July last year. The group is dominated by Russia and China, and also includes former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

Pakistan’s full membership to the powerful SCO was approved by its Council of Heads of State at its 15th Summit.

Russia sees the organisation, expanding for the first time since its creation in 2001, as a counterweight to Western alliances.

Also read: Russia lifts arms embargo to Pakistan: report

Russia had lifted its embargo on arms supplies to Pakistan in June 2014 and signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement with Pakistan to strengthen military-to-military relations in November 2014.

Later August 2015, the two countries signed a landmark defence deal which includes the sale of four Mi-35 ‘Hind E’ attack helicopters to Pakistan.

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