"Friendship" with "Indra"


Today, the first Russian-Pakistani military exercises in history, “Friendship-2016”, begin. Meanwhile, the Russian-Indian maneuvers codenamed "Indra-2016" have already started.


The tactical exercises will take place in a mountainous area in Pakistan. They are planned to attract more than 200 soldiers from the two countries, of which about 70 are Russian citizens. The scenario includes the conduct of combat operations in mountainous areas. The exercises will last fifteen days, until October 10th.

A statement distributed by the Ministry of Defense of Russia emphasized that the "joint exercise is aimed at strengthening and developing military cooperation between Russia and Pakistan" which has been actively expanded in recent years.

"Friendship" in discord with friendship?

Meanwhile, the old ally of Russia and this year’s BRICS chairman, India, released a statement in which it expressed concern over the Russian-Pakistani exercises. However, the director of the Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Zamir Kabulov, has assured the Indian side that such is groundless. It is reported that Moscow has informed New Delhi about the plans and site of the exercises. It is known that they will not occur in areas that are the subject of dispute between Pakistan and India.

India itself is ramping up military and political cooperation with the West. A series of US-India meetings have passed at which the White House made clear its interest in India as being important for Washington to contain China, and partly Russia.


However, Russia has managed to delicately overcome the risk of losing India as an ally. This is proven by the fact that, almost simultaneously with the beginning of “Friendship”, the Russian-Indian “Indra-2016” exercises started. The Ministry of Defense of Russia clearly dedicates more attention to this one despite the fact that they are annual and are not being held for the first time. The large-scale exercises are planned to involve about 500 soldiers from both sides and up to 50 units of armaments and military equipment, a detachment of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as aircraft from the Eastern Military District from where they started off yesterday.

The terrorism factor

This year, the exercises are of an anti-terrorist character. It should be recalled that a decision on joint counteracting terrorism was taken at a recent meeting of SCO member states, which include both Russia, India and Pakistan. The resolution itself came from Russia’s representative.

However, terrorism in India has a slightly different character than in many other countries. After the attack by militants on India’s armed forces base in the troubled region of Kashmir, New Delhi has accused Islamabad of conducting a proxy war with terrorist groups. The United Kingdom and US support India in their efforts to hinder Eurasian integration and Russian influence in the region by fanning the flames of long-standing disputes and, in this case, supporting India’s view. Recently, a conference was held at which some liberal analysts called Pakistan a terrorist state, even though Islamabad suffers from Islamist terrorism no less than the rest of the world. Just during the recent holiday week, Muslims were subjected to several major attacks, one of them taking place in a mosque, and two assassination attempts on officials.

US Immorality

The United States could not afford to miss such a topic. On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, a meeting was held between representatives of India, Afghanistan, and the United States, which confirmed their countries' cooperation in countering terrorism. In addition, it was decided to continue similar consultations on a regular basis, indicating that the US desires to gain a foothold in India by capitalizing on the the country’s troublesome issues.

In addition, the US Senate passed a vote on adopting a resolution which concludes that Pakistan is a terrorist State. It reports that the bill’s sponsors believe that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism. In addition, the transfer of $300 million in military aid to Islamabad was blocked. This was probably done to spite Russia, which is strengthening not only its military cooperation with Pakistan, but is also seeking to create a united Eurasia out of the most disparate countries.

The fact that Moscow is successfully holding both exercises at the same time with the participation of the two warring countries speaks to the fact that Russia has more credibility in the region than anyone else.