Russia And China's Armed Forces War-Game Together For The First Time
The American media, and the Bush administration, have pretended the following news isn't reality. Or important. And for good reason. Even the idea that Russia and China are now forming a psuedo-military alliance, and working out through wargames how their forces and arsenal can compliment each other in a future clash of the superpowers, is enough to rattle America to its foundations.
That a Russia-China alliance could eventually take in most of the Asia 'Stans, along with Pakistan and India, is all but beyond Western comprehension.
It's important to remember, as we consistently point out on this blog, that both China and Russia have opposed greater isolation of their energy partner Iran through the UN Security Council, and have made diplomatic-level promises to defend their "interests' in Iran, in the event of strikes by the United States or Israel.
From the London Times :
Russian and Chinese troops are joining forces this week in the first military exercises by an international organisation that is regarded in some quarters as a potential rival to Nato.
Thousands of soldiers and 500 combat vehicles will take part in “Peace Mission 2007”, organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. Russian officials have also proposed an alliance between the SCO and a body representing most of the former Soviet republics.
Scores of Russian and Chinese aircraft begin joint exercises tomorrow before a week of military manoeuvres from Thursday that will include Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. At least 6,500 troops are involved in what is described as an antiterror exercise.
Colonel-General Vladimir Moltenskoi, the deputy commander of Russian ground forces, said: “The exercise will involve practically all SCO members for the first time in its history.”
Staff officers from Uzbekistan, the sixth SCO member, will also attend in what is being regarded as a major extension of the organisation’s capabilities. The SCO was founded as a nonmilitary alliance in 2001 to combat drugs and weapons smuggling as well as terrorism and separatism in the region. It has since developed a role in regional trade and is increasingly regarded by Moscow and Beijing as a counterweight to US global influence.
The secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) called last week for joint military exercises with the SCO. Nikolai Bordyuzha said that the body representing Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan should work with the SCO to guarantee security across the region.
Mr Bordyuzha has already announced a CSTO plan to create a large military force capable of assisting a member state in the event of an attack. A rapid-reaction force is already based in Central Asia and there are plans for a common air defence system covering most of the former Soviet Union.
Leaders of SCO member states will meet in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, next week for their annual summit. Turkmenistan will also attend for the first time, while Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan have observer status.
To recap, Russia and China are wargaming together, and through the SCO, Mongolia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are all involved in some capacity with the war games, and the expansion of solidifying of military and security ties amongst the SCO member and observer nations.
It's a remarkable and historic event, worthy of more than the minimal attention it has recieved in the Western media, so far.
The London Times piece also lays out the figures for military personnel strength of China, Russia and the United States :
$24.9bn Russian defence budget 2006
395,000 on active service in army
142,000 in active service in navy
160,000 on active service in air force $35.3bn Chinese defence budget
$35.3bn Chinese defence budget
400,000 Air force
$535bn US defence budget
347,400 Air force
More To Come...