India Pulls Out of Russian Military Drills With China, Pakistan

The Indian military has said it will not participate in Russia’s multinational exercises next month amid border standoffs with China and Pakistan.

India has informed Russia that it will not be sending a contingent for the Kavkaz-2020 (Caucasus-2020) exercises, its Defense Ministry spokesperson said via Twitter on Saturday. India was one of several countries due to carry out command post exercises as part of Kavkaz-2020 in southern Russia’s Astrakhan region in September.

Soon after the announcement, India accused China of fresh “provocative” military movements at the site of this summer’s deadly battle on their contested Himalayan border.

New Delhi and Beijing have blamed each other for the latest frontier tensions between the two sides, who fought a border war in 1962 and have been involved in regular showdowns since.

On June 15, troops from the two sides fought hand-to-hand combat in which 20 Indian troops were killed. China also acknowledged casualties but did not give numbers.

The Chinese and Indian militaries have poured tens of thousands of troops into the region since the June fighting. But their military and diplomatic talks on easing tensions are in an apparent stalemate.

The Muslim-majority Himalayan region is largely divided between India and Pakistan, who both claim it in its entirety and have fought two wars over it.

Last year India took away the semi-autonomous status granted to its side of the territory. Tensions have risen since.

The standoffs have prompted Russia to speed up its S-400 missile system and MiG-29 fighter jet deals with India.

Chinese fighter jets enter Taiwan airspace in ‘threat to regional peace’

Multiple Chinese fighter jets entered airspace to Taiwan’s southwest on Wednesday, said the island’s defence ministry, describing it as a destabilising action which threatened regional peace.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has repeatedly complained of Chinese military activities near the island, including regular air force patrols. China says such drills demonstrate its resolve to protect its sovereignty.

China has in the last few weeks mounted numerous exercises up and down its coast and near Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the Chinese Su-30 and J-10 fighters had entered Taiwan’s “response zone” to its southwest on Wednesday morning, adding that multiple aircraft were involved.

“The Defence Ministry solemnly condemns the Chinese Communist’s unilateral actions that damage regional peace and stability,” it added.

Taiwan’s armed forces are able to respond quickly and appropriately to such movements, the military said, calling on people not to be alarmed.

Taiwan’s Liberty Times newspaper said Taiwan issued 24 verbal warnings over the radio for the Chinese aircraft to leave.

Taiwan is currently carrying out live fire weapons tests off its southeast and eastern coast.

There was no immediate comment from China.

Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen warned last month that the risk of accidental conflict was rising because of tension in the South China Sea and around Taiwan and communication must be maintained to reduce the risk of miscalculation.

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