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Russia, China hold massive military exercise

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A File Photo showing map of Russia and China

MOSCOW (PTI): To prepare their armies to jointly counter security threats existing in the region, Russia and China on Wednesday kicked-off a massive military exercise along their common border.

Up to 1,300 heavily armed troops backed by over 60 military aircraft are honing their skill to suppress terrorists and ethnic separatists under Peace Mission-2009 joint war games in north-eastern Chinese province of Jilin.

"The five-day-long exercises near the common border must show the international community that Russia and China have the necessary resources to ensure stability and security in the region," Chief of the Russian General Staff, Army General Nikolai Makarov, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Calling China a 'reliable partner' Gen Makarov said the Peace Mission-2009 is not a 'tribute to a fashionable trend' (joint war games).

"It is a concrete contribution to preparing our armies to jointly counter security threats existing in our region," Gen Makarov underscored.

China and Russia have held their joint war games in 2005 and 2007 on each other's territories, but in view of the recent violence in Urumqi- the capital of China's Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province, the ongoing war games acquire a special importance.

According to the scenario of drills the Russian-Chinese troops are to knock out militants from a town captured by them.

A significant feature of the present drills was transportation of Russian troops with their tanks and armoured vehicles by Chinese trains sent into the Russian territory.

Both Russia and China share a common concern over the stability and security of newly independent states in Central Asia bordering on volatile Afghanistan, experts here said.

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