Russia and Pakistan have commenced a joint military exercise called ‘Friendship-2020’ at the Tarbela special operations training ground in Pakistan.

This is the fifth instalment of the exercise and the third to be held in Pakistan.

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More than 150 personnel from the two countries will participate in the exercise, which will seek to improve military cooperation between the two countries.

The Russian unit includes more than 70 soldiers from the special purpose unit of the 49th SMD combined arms army, stationed in Stavropol.

Troops will share experiences and participate in different missions to improve interoperability.

The exercise was launched with a flag hoisting ceremony that was attended by various officials.

Following the opening ceremony, Pakistani military personnel demonstrated more than 100 types of military equipment to the Russian contingent, including small arms, optical observation and reconnaissance devices.

Pakistan combat training department head major general Nayer Nasser said: “This is the third joint military exercise conducted in Pakistan.

“Pakistan and Russia are united in the fight against terrorism. The Friendship exercise gives us the opportunity to strengthen relations between the military personnel of the two countries.”

The exercise will be held in compliance with the Covid-19 related protocols until 21 November.

Since 2016, this joint Russian-Pakistani military exercise has been held every year alternatively in the two countries.

Last month, the Russian Defence Ministry rejected a proposal that called for a reduction in the size of the country’s military personnel by 10%.