Russia starts joint military drills with China.
Image Credit: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
On Monday, Russian and Chinese forces will start their 5-day joint military drill, dubbed the Zapad/Interaction 2021, with the aim of enhancing security in Central Asia. The exercise which will be held in China’s northern Chinese Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and will involve around 10,000 troops. Aircraft, artillery and other armored equipment will also be used during the drills.
Recently both countries released a joint statement regarding the exercise.
The exercise is aimed to consolidate and develop the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era, deepen the practical cooperation and traditional friendship between the two militaries, and further demonstrate the two sides’ resolve and capability to fight against terrorist forces and jointly safeguard regional peace and security.Russia and China joint statement.
Both countries want to ensure stability of Central Asia, since after the withdrawal of US and NATO troops after two decades in the country. In recent months, the Taliban gained huge swathes of land in Afghanistan. The Taliban managed to capture strategically significant border crossings and supply routes. The terror group also captured infrastructure related to mineral extract operations. Both China and Russia, that rely on regional trade routes, particularly for oil and natural gas imports, worry that Afghanistan’s may spill over into other countries in Central Asia. Russia, in fact, also conducted military drills with other Central Asian countries recently in an attempt to bolster military cooperation between Central Asian countries.
China and Russia conducted 30 military exercises as from 2003. Both countries which are being increasingly isolated by Americans and their allies are left with no choice but to work together economically and militarily.
More details to follow.