Chinese, Iranian and Russian forces are to participate in joint military exercises in southern Russia later this month, alongside troops from Armenia, Belarus, Myanmar and Pakistan. India cancelled its involvement over mounting cross-border tensions between Delhi and Beijing.
The "Caucus 2020" drills will focus on defensive tactics, encirclement and battlefield control and command, according to China's Defence Ministry yesterday. The drills have special significance "at this important moment when the entire world is fighting the pandemic," the ministry said.
Last year China, Iran and Russia held four days of naval war games codenamed "Marine Security Belt" which included tactical exercises such as rescuing frigates under attack. It was the first of such cooperation between the two world powers and Iran since its Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The three states have recently increased their military and diplomatic cooperation largely to counter US influence in their respective regions. The Caucus 2020 exercises come amid growing animosity between Washington and Beijing, Moscow and Tehran.