Cong dubs Russia's denial of military exercises with Pakistan as 'tactical move'

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 24 (ANI): The Congress on Saturday dubbed Russia's denial of doing military exercises with Pakistani forces in Gilgit-Baltistan as a tactical move by Moscow and urged Indian media to be cautious and be aware of the reality at ground zero. Congress spokesperson Tom Vaddakan told ANI, "This is tactical statement coming from Russia. It's apparently clear, the exercise is on, but only the locale is being changed," Vaddakan said. "There has been a lot of reports in Indian media that Russia had abandoned this exercise. But the fact of the matter is that the exercise is still on. The Indian news media needs to be careful when they use such material to know exactly what is the ground zero level," he added. He further said the question of India's relation with Russia and China, are issues that need an immediate attention from the MEA and the PMO because they are important nations as they are part of the entire security network. "It requires a little more activity from the MEA and from the Prime Minister, who himself is known to create good relations with different countries. I think therefore it's important that the focus remains and yes, there are issues on their accountability factor of the attack in Uri," he said. Earlier, Russia has rubbished reports that its troops will be holding joint military exercises with Pakistani forces in Gilgit Baltistan, which is a part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and clarified the anti-terror drills will take place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. The denial came as Russian troops arrived in Islamabad on Friday for the first-ever joint exercises with Pakistani forces. The exercise begins from today under the name 'Friendship-2016' and reflects growing military ties between the two countries. Deputy Director of Information and Press Department Yury Materiy said that Russia holds such military drills with other countries of the region as well. "On Sep 23, Indra-2016 joint Russian-Indian anti-terror exercise started at Sergeyevsky training ground in the Primorye Territory," he added. In a statement from the Russian embassy in New Delhi yesterday, Russia said that contrary to some reports appearing in a section of the press, the Russia-Pakistan anti-terror exercise is not being held and will not be held in any point of so-called "Azad Kashmir", or in any other sensitive or problematic areas like Gilgit and Baltistan. The statement added the only venue of the exercise is Cherat, referring to a place in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Russian Embassy added that all reports alleging the drills taking place at the High Altitude Military School in Rattu are erroneous and mischievous. (ANI)