India not to participate in multilateral war game in Russia next month

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NEW DELHI: India has decided to withdraw from a multilateral war game in

Russia

next month, government sources said on Saturday, a week after New Delhi had confirmed its participation in the exercise that is also expected to be attended by the Chinese and Pakistani troops.

Last week India had conveyed to Russia that it will participate in the strategic command-post exercise to be held in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia from September 15 to 26.

Though no reason has been cited officially about India reversing its decision, people familiar with the development said that China’s participation in the exercise was a major factor behind the review.

“A decision has been taken to not participate in the exercise,” said a source.

Complete coverage: LAC stand-off

It is learnt that the decision was taken following deliberations between the top brass of the military and the ministry of external affairs.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a bitter standoff in several areas along the Line of

Actual Control

in eastern Ladakh for over three-and-half months. Both the countries are holding talks at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the dispute.

Around 20 countries including all member-nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) including China and Pakistan are expected to participate in the Kavkaz exercise.

India’s reconsideration on its participation in the military drill comes ahead of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s scheduled visit to Russia next week to attend a crucial meeting of the SCO.

The SCO defence ministers’ meeting is expected to deliberate on regional security scenario and geo-strategic developments.

India had earlier planned to send around 150 Indian Army troops, 45 Indian Air Force personnel and a number of Navy officers to the multilateral mili

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