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China’s defence ministry announced Friday it would conduct the “Caucus 2020” military drills alongside Russia and Iran. According to China’s state-run the Global Times, Beijing hopes to use the joint drills with Russia as a way to strengthen diplomatic and strategic co-operation between Moscow and Beijing. The military drills that are causing anxiety in the West will run throughout next week.
The team-up of the Eurasian armies will also include forces from Armenia, Belarus, Myanmar, and Pakistan.
The close ties of Russia and China have stoked anxiety from NATO and from India.
India, which also has close military ties with Russia, has withdrawn from the upcoming drills due to its ongoing disputes with both China and Pakistan.
The Indian defence ministry attributed their decision to logistical “difficulties”.
The drills will further alienate New Delhi and provide more grounds for strengthening US-India ties.
However, India has been accused of “childishness” by Beijing based military expert Li Jie.
Speaking to Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times, Li said that “India showed its childishness in quitting because of China, and that it feared China’s presence could eclipse its role.”
The planned exercises have heightened tensions in the fragile power balance of world powers.
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The drills will run from September 21-26 and are to focus on defensive tactics, encirclement, and battlefield control and command.
China’s defence ministry is boasting of the event being “an important moment when the whole world is fighting the pandemic”.
This statement could be seen as an implicit threat to the West which is still in the grips of the coronavirus whilst China has not recorded a spike in new infections in many weeks.
US military observers are on heightened alert after the announcement that Russia will cooperate with Iranian and Chinese troops for the drill.
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China has plans to send its elite troops from its Western Command division to the strategic military exercise.
Russia has recently been expanding its military strength.
In November Moscow ordered the deployment of an unprecedented number of submarines from its Northern Fleet.
These included sea trials of its newest Yasen-class submarine, the Kazen, a 13,800 tonne nuclear boat, which will eventually carry 40 Kailbr-M cruise missiles.
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