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RUSSIAN troops come out of their plane at a military base at an undisclosed location.—AFP
RUSSIAN troops come out of their plane at a military base at an undisclosed location.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and Russian troops began on Monday the third edition of their annual joint drills codenamed ‘Druzhba (Friendship)-III’.

A 70-member contingent of the Russian troops is participating in the drills being held at the National Counter-Terrorist Centre in Pabbi. The exercises will continue till Nov 4.

The ISPR had announced the arrival of the Russian contingent, saying it was here to participate in the Pak-Russia Joint Training Exercise ‘Druzhba-III’.

The drills are being held since 2016 when Pakistan hosted the first edition. The second edition was held in Russia. The purpose of the wargames is to strengthen cooperation between militaries of the two countries and exchange professional experience, particularly in the field of counterterrorism.

The aim is to boost ties between the two militaries and swap experience, especially in field of counterterrorism

Defence relations between Pakistan and Russia have steadily grown since the two countries signed their defence cooperation agreement in 2014.

The agreement, besides providing for cooperation in different areas of military activities, also caters for collaboration between the two sides for promoting international security and intensification of counterterrorism.

Earlier this year, Islam­abad and Moscow set up a commission for promoting military cooperation. At the first meeting of the Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee, which is said to be the highest forum of defence collaboration between the two sides, it was agreed that Pakistan army men would train at Russian military institutes.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2018

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