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Pak, Russia hold joint military drill

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ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan and Russia are holding a two-week long military exercise focussing on counter- terrorism operations to enhance defence ties between the two countries, ahead of Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa's visit to Moscow next month.

The joint exercise DRUZBA 2017 between special forces of Pakistan and Russia Armies started in Minralney Vody, Russia.

The opening ceremony was attended by senior military officials of special forces of both countries, the Pakistan army said in a statement.

The joint exercise will focus on counter-terrorism operations, hostage and rescue, cordon and search operation.

The joint exercise will enhance and further strengthen military ties between the two countries and share Pakistan Army's experience in war against terrorism, it said.

Bajwa will visit Russia in the first week of October as part of regular high level exchanges between the two countries in the past few years.

His visit will set the stage for "translating political goodwill into a substantial partnership in particular, in the field of defence," the Foreign Office (FO) has said

Pakistan's ties with Russia have moved past the bitter Cold War hostilities in recent years and the chill in the relations between Pakistan and the US, especially after President Donald Trump warned Islamabad for providing safe havens to terrorists, has further pushed the country towards Russia and China.

Last year, Russia held its first-ever military exercises with Pakistan and also started selling weapons to Islamabad.

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