More than 7,000 troops from China, Russia and four central Asia countries have gathered in Inner Mongolia for their biggest joint drills "to fight terrorists".
The drills are purportedly to prepare troops to protect the so-called Silk Road economic and transport belt that will run through central Asia from China to Europe from terrorist attack, but as one analyst notes, "it is kind of rare to have an anti-terrorist mission which uses battle tanks." Furthermore, as part of a drill:
- *RUSSIA TESTING S-300, S-400 SYSTEMS IN ASTRAKHAN REGION: RIA
So, surface-to-air missile tests? Not very "de-escalation"-y. Perhaps this statement is a clue, "we are trying to exercise together to coordinate our troops to meet any potential eventuality."
A total of 23 Chinese aircraft will participate in Peace Mission-2014, along with tanks, drones and air-defense missiles from countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported. The SCO groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The exercises are another sign China and Russia are willing to work together as both seek to upgrade their military capacity in the face of rising territorial tensions. The drills will prepare troops to protect the so-called Silk Road economic and transport belt that will run through central Asia from China to Europe from terrorist attack, China Radio International reported.
“It is kind of rare to have an anti-terrorist mission which uses battle tanks,” said Matthew Sussex, head of politics and international relations at the University of Tasmania. “It says: ‘We are trying to exercise together to coordinate our troops to meet any potential eventuality’ — in other words war.
China’s President Xi Jinping, the head of the Central Military Commission, has made it a priority to better prepare the People’s Liberation Army for combat, while Russia’s Vladimir Putin has embarked on the biggest overhaul of his country’s armed forces since the Cold War.
Russia and China in May held their first joint naval exercises near Japanese-controlled islands that are at the center of a Chinese-Japanese rift. Russia further inflamed tension with Japan last week when it started military exercises in the disputed Kuril Islands.
But then, as Reuters adds...
- RUSSIA TESTS SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILES IN MILITARY EXERCISES IN SOUTHERN RUSSIAN PROVINCE - STATE NEWS AGENCY RIA
- *RIA CITES RUSSIA DEFENSE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN ON MILITARY DRILLS
De-Escalation? Doesn't look like it...