30-Sep-2018 13:52:55

Russia China India Putin Modi

Russia conducted its largest military drill since cold war in 1981 (Zapad-81), last week from September 11th to 15th. It included a huge troop of almost one third of the country's military personnel and featured 300,000 troops and a 1000 aircrafts. It was officially called Vostok-2018 or East-2018. Both the Northern and Pacific fleets were deployed along the country's eastern and central military districts. It also included 36,000 tanks and armoured personnel who were a show of Russia's military capabilities. Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that these drills were essential in the current international situation which is quite often aggressive and unfriendly to their country.

Many similarities were noted between these two drills. The Zapad-81 was conducted from September 4th to 12th in 1981 and is often described as the biggest military drill ever held by Russian military. It included several new complexes such as RSD-10 medium range strategic missiles and Kiev project 1143 aircraft carrier. It also included a large victory parade. It was a display of strength and power to all the NATO countries and Poland. The US had then claimed that these exercises were a violation of the Helsinki accords signed in 1975 between thirty five countries to bridge the gap between Communists and the West.

The military exercise of 2018, Vostok was held in Siberia and eastern Russia. It included units from the army, navy and air force along with military deployments from China, Mongolia and Turkey. 80 warships were included and the whole exercise was far greater than Vostok 2014 in terms of soldiers and military capabilities. 91 observers from 57 countries were expected to attend this large scale event to witness Russia's huge military strength. The people's liberation army sent 3200 troops, 900 pieces of land equipment and 30 aircraft carriers for this exercise. They reportedly participated in the Tsugol training range in Trans-Baikal region. There were also a few reports that stated that the Russian military and People's liberation army have shared information on combat lessons after the Syrian civil war. This exercise was named Vostok which means 'east’, whereas the military exercise held in 1981 was named Zapad meaning 'west’ in Russian.

This military exercise bought together the two huge superpowers of the world, China and Russia together. Their common commitment to surpass American power, has played the key role in this military alliance. Both the countries have stated the exercise has bought their countries closer and improved the bonds between them. There has been increased tensions between US-Russia and US-China relations in the past few years due to various reasons. The US has considered China and Russia as its biggest competitors in the world market, and has called them revisionist powers. Both the countries have bonded on their mutual goal and similar history, where both of them have suffered revolutions and wars. The strategic partnership between two nations considered to be the beacons of the East has clearly set a model at improved relations between all the countries. This exercise has also helped Moscow to come out of its long standing belief about having an isolated army. They have also showed the world that they are ready, if necessary together, to take on the countries that tries to oppress their growth in the world market.

Written by:

Sharanya Sreepad