In order to participate in a multi-nation military exercise that will take place in many sites in Russia’s east, including the Southern Kuril Islands, which Japan claims as part of its own territory, Moscow has asked New Delhi to send troops.
Regardless of the ongoing military standoff between the two neighbouring countries along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, if New Delhi decides to send troops to the Vostok (East) 2022 exercise hosted by Russia from August 30 to September 5, its soldiers will train alongside their Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) counterparts. Beijing said on Wednesday that Chinese PLA soldiers would participate in the exercise in Russia.
According to a source in New Delhi, India will soon decide whether to send troops to Russia to participate in the exercise, which would take place at 13 Russian Army training facilities in the country’s Eastern Military District.
After beginning its military offensive against Ukraine on February 24, Russia is hosting the first multi-nation military exercise, called Vostok (East) 2022.
Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Belarus are among the countries that received the invitation from Russia to participate in the practise, in addition to India and China.
It appears that Russia is conducting the exercise to demonstrate to the United States and other western countries that it has the military strength to secure the defence of its entire territory, despite having stationed over 100,000 soldiers in Ukraine for its “special military operations” there.
Tokyo opposed to Moscow’s intention to include the Southern Kuril Islands, also known as the Northern Territories, on the list of locations for the multinational exercise. Both Japan and Russia claim these islands.
Between Japan’s Hokkaido and Russia’s southernmost tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula, there lie the Southern Kuril Islands.
The Okhotsk Sea and the North Pacific Ocean are divided by the islands.
Tokyo has already voiced its disapproval of Moscow’s plan to perform the Vostok (East) 2022 drill in the disputed territories, known by Russia as the Southern Kuril Islands and by Japan as the Northern Territories, through diplomatic channels.
Tokyo’s protest was, of course, dismissed by Moscow, which asserted that the Southern Kuril Islands were and would always be a part of Russia.
Relations between Moscow and Tokyo deteriorated after Japan imposed sanctions on Russia after the former Soviet Union country began its military offensives against Ukraine, joining the US and other western countries in doing so.
After China conducted a number of military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taipei over the objections of Xi Jinping’s “Middle Kingdom,” tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over territorial disputes have increased.
After weighing the effects of its choice on India-Japan relations, New Delhi is likely to decide whether or not to take part in the exercise.
Over the past few months, India has come under fire from the US and other western countries for doing business with the former Soviet Union while under sanctions and for refusing to join them in harshly denouncing Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. India also bought more Russian coal and oil.