The joint Russian-Pakistani military exercise FRIENDSHIP-2020 has started in Pakistan at a Special Operations Forces training base.
Russian MoD News Release, 09 November 2020: [auto-translated] On the parade ground of the training base for Special Operations Forces of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the village of Tarbela, the fifth joint Russian-Pakistani military exercise FRIENDSHIP-2020 [DRUZHBA-2020] started.
The opening ceremony was attended by over 150 servicemen of the two countries. The event began with the raising of national flags and the performance of the Pakistani and Russian anthems by a Pakistani military band. The ceremony was attended by the head of the combat training department of the ground forces of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Major General Nayer Nasser, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Danila Ganich, the head of the exercise from the Russian side, Colonel Alexander Borisenko, as well as the military attaché at the Embassy of the Russian Federation Alexander Fedotov.
The head of the combat training department of the Pakistani ground forces and the Ambassador of the Russian Federation addressed the participants of the exercise with parting words. “This is the third joint military exercise conducted in Pakistan,” said Major General Nayer Nasser. – Pakistan and Russia are united in the fight against terrorism. The Druzhba doctrine gives us the opportunity to strengthen relations between the military personnel of the two countries.”
Then the leaders and guests of the exercise inspected the exhibition of weapons and equipment of Pakistan’s Special Operations Forces, and also got acquainted with the training facilities involved in the exercise.
“In Pakistan, the army is not just an army, it is also an institution that holds everything together. And here it is not a secret: there was a time when the army came to the fore. In 1947, Pakistan was formed as an independent state, during which time – more than 20 years – the military was in power. I would say that this is the backbone of Pakistani statehood and the backbone of society – the army,” said Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Danila Ganich.
“This is an extremely important thing, not only from the point of view of experience, but also from a social point of view, because people come here, our Special Forces have arrived, and they see what Pakistan is, who are Pakistani citizens, what is Pakistani psychology. When Pakistanis come to Russia, they see that the Russians are not the country to be feared: it is peaceful and no one is going to attack anyone. This is the point – people get to know each other, but, of course, plus the exchange of experience,” said Danila Ganich.
After the ceremonial part, the Pakistani military personnel showed their Russian colleagues their small arms, optical observation and reconnaissance devices, items of military equipment, mountaineering equipment, engineering barriers, sapper protective equipment. Video surveillance equipment, scuba diver’s equipment and technical means of communication, reconnaissance and electronic warfare aroused particular interest among Russian military personnel. Also, Pakistani military personnel demonstrated underwater scuba diving equipment, an underwater scooter-towing vehicle, communications equipment, parachute systems of various types. In total, more than 100 samples of weapons were exhibited for display, including SMG and MP5SD submachine guns, M4 assault rifles of various modifications, tactical flashlights, knives of Special Operations Forces, etc. Upon completion, the leaders of the exercise got acquainted with the educational and material base involved in the joint exercise.
The joint military exercise FRIENDSHIP-2020 is carried out on the basis of the training of Pakistani Special Operations Forces in the settlement Tarbela (50 km from Islamabad), as well as at the base of the National Anti-Terrorism Center in Pabbi of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The servicemen of the two countries will work out interaction in performing tasks within the framework of simulated combat operations in mountainous and wooded areas, in particular, to destroy conventional illegal armed formations.
More than 70 servicemen of a Special Forces Company of the 49th combined-arms army of the Southern Military District, stationed in the Stavropol Territory, were involved in the exercise. The event is being held in accordance with the plan of international military cooperation and will last until November 21. The joint exercise is aimed at strengthening and developing military cooperation between the two countries.
This year, due to the epidemiological situation in the world, the stages of the exercise will be held in compliance with all measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection. All Russian military personnel were tested for Covid-19 upon arrival. In order to counteract the viral infection, the accommodation facilities of the Russian military personnel are provided with the required amount of antiseptic and protective masks.
For reference: The joint Russian-Pakistani military exercise FRIENDSHIP has been held since 2016, in which servicemen of the mountain motorized rifle brigade and the Special Forces Company of the Southern Military District, deployed in Karachay-Cherkessia and the Stavropol Territory, take part from the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
This year, the fifth joint Russian-Pakistani military exercise FRIENDSHIP-2020 is being held, the first exercise was held in Pakistan. This is the third joint military exercise to be held in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, two more were held on the territory of the Southern Military District: in the Kuban and in the mountainous areas of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic.
In total, more than 150 servicemen from Russia and Pakistan will be involved in the exercise.
Source: Press Service of the Russian Southern Military District