SCO Holds 10th Joint Military Drill
   2013-06-14 20:56:36      Web Editor: Liu Yuanhui



The tenth joint counterterrorism drill was held in Kazakhstan by member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Analysts say the mechanism is growing into maturity and now plays a significant role in deepening interaction between SCO members in combat missions.

CRI's Zhang Ru has more.

The drill stimulates a situation where terrorists enter Kazakhstan by helicopters and automobiles, hijack hostages in a bordering village and attempt to conduct terrorist activities.

The mission is for counter forces from SCO member countries to crack down on the terrorist group and rescue hostages through both ground and aerial operations.

Wang Baofu, a professor from the PLA National Defence University, says that recent exercises have become more effective in aiding crackdowns on terrorism, separatism and extremism, three major threats within the Central Asian region.

"Counter terrorism operates under specific conditions, for example in densely populated places close to high levels of activity, and plays a significant role in deterring and crushing the main three threats. Another thing that been emphasized in recent years is that the missions are to be accomplished under a joint command, under cooperation between military forces from different countries. "

This year's exercise is hosted by Kazakhstan, in cooperation with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Delegates from other member countries observe the drill.

Professor Wang Baofu notes that this arrangement is related to the current situation in Central Asia.

"This year the drill is not massive in scale but involves multiple central Asian countries. We know that the situation in Afghanistan is facing a critical point with unclear prospects, as the Taliban and NATO forces are taking undergoing fierce combats in important locations. Additionally, terrorists inside Afghanistan are operating rapidly. All these factors pose threats to these central Asian countries."

Military exercises within the frame of the SCO have been conducted since 2002, with regional security concerns being a continuous topic of concern.

Yin Zhuo, a renowned military expert and Rear Admiral of the PLA, notes that although joint exercises have been upgraded in terms of scale and military maneuver, this does not mean that the SCO will turn into a military alliance; additionally, the drill does not direct at any third party in particular.

"The major point of the joint drill is that it directs at the three threats, which also confirms the interests of all SCO member countries. Also the organization has agreed that when a local authority is endangered by terrorism or other such threats, other member countries can help it in its countering efforts. Such a consensus can work as a strong deterrence to regional terrorism and separatism."

The SCO, which comprises of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan is an intergovernmental organization founded in 2001.


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