International Current Affairs

DRUZBA 2017: Pakistan, Russia hold joint military drill

The second edition of DRUZBA 2017 (Friendship-2017), a joint military exercise between special forces of Pakistan and Russia was held in Minralney Vody, Russia. The exercise set the stage for translating political goodwill between both countries into a substantial partnership especially in the field of defence.

Key Facts

The joint exercise DRUZBA 2017 focused on counter-terrorism operations, hostage and rescue, cordon and search operation. It aimed to enhance and further strengthen military ties between two countries and share Pakistan Army’s experience in war against terrorism. It also involved experience sharing and develop coordination in carrying out practice combat tasks in a mountainous environment, including operations against illegal armed groups.

Comment

In recent years, Pakistan’s ties with Russia have moved past bitter Cold War hostilities and chill in the relations between Pakistan and US. This comes especially at time when President Donald Trump warned Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists which has further pushed it towards Russia and China. The first edition of the exercise was held in at the Army High Altitude School in Rattu, northern Pakistan. Russia also started selling weapons to Islamabad.

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India, Russia to collaborate on Bangladesh nuclear plant

India is collaborating with Russia to build Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh. It will be first initiative under an India-Russia nuclear deal to undertake atomic energy projects in third countries. It will also be India’s first atomic energy venture abroad.

Rooppur Nuclear project (capacity of 2*1200 MWs) is Bangladesh’s first atomic energy project. It is being built with Russia’s help near Dhaka. After commissioning of two units, each with capacity of 1200 MWs, Bangladesh will be third South Asian country after India and Pakistan to harness atomic energy for energy purpose.

Background

In December 2014, India and Russia had signed ‘Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy’ to explore opportunities for sourcing materials, equipment and services from Indian industry for construction of Russian-designed nuclear power plants in third countries. Moreover, India had signed a civil nuclear cooperation deal, along with two more agreements, with Bangladesh in April 2017 under which two sides can supply and manufacture equipment, material for atomic power plant.

Comment

The nuclear deal with Bangladesh allows Indian nuclear establishment to grow, internationally as for years it was not been able to grow due to sanctions imposed on New Delhi post 1974 Pokhran tests. However, it is not clear what kind of nuclear collaboration India is having with Bangladesh since both countries are not members of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an elite grouping of 48 members that prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling  export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

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