ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday denied that Russia had cancelled planned joint military drills with the country in the aftermath of Sunday’s attack on an Indian army base in Uri.
Talking to The Express Tribune from Moscow, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Russia Qazi Khalilullah said the joint Pakistan-Russia military exercises will take place as scheduled. The first-ever military drills between the two former Cold War rivals – named ‘Friendship 2016’ – will start from September 24 and continue till October 7.
Earlier on Monday, several Indian news sources claimed that Russia had called off the joint war games with Pakistan following the attack in Uri.
However, the claims were seemingly contradicted by a Press Trust of India report as well which quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying that New Delhi need not worry about the exercises.
“We were informed by [Russia’s] defence ministry that these exercises will not be carried out in disputed areas, and a place was chosen that has nothing to do with this. Hence there is no reason for India to worry,” Russian foreign ministry’s Second Asian Department, Zamir Kabulov said.
The military drills are set to take place at Pakistan Army’s High Altitude School in Rattu, Gilgit-Baltistan and the SSG training centre in Cherat.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2016.