Moscow, August 24: The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Peace Mission Exercise 2018 has formally started on 24 August 2018 in Russia. The opening ceremony of the SCO Peace Mission Exercise 2018 conducted today at 255 Combined Arms Range at Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk, Russian Federation. Military contingents of the all eight SCO member nations are participating in this exercise. The contingents were addressed by Lieutenant General Alexander Pavlovich Lapin, Chief Commander Central Military District, Russia.
At least 3,000 soldiers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan are participating in the drill. The Russian Army has the major participation of 1700 personnel followed by China with 700. Meanwhile, 200 personnel are participating from India. The Indian contingent are primarily composed of troops from infantry and affiliated arms and services along with the Indian Air Force.
The main highlight of the exercise is the participation of Indian and Pakistani armies. It for the first time that armies of the two hostile nations are taking part in the same military exercise. India is participating in the drill for the first time since becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017. As part of the SCO initiatives, the SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for the SCO member states.
India and Pakistan became the full member of the SCO on June 9, 2017. Both the nations were admitted as observers in 2005 and began the administrative process of joining the organisation, which started in 2001 in Shanghai by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.