Russia cancels military drill with Pakistan
Russia has reportedly cancelled its military drill with Pakistan. In Picture: Russia's President Vladimir Putin (front R) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (front L) walk during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 23 December 2015.Reuters

The attack on the Indian Army base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on 18 September that killed 18 soldiers drew worldwide condemnation. Russia, India's all-weather friend and a partner in several defence ties, has "strongly condemned" this terrorist attack and said that perpetrators must be held accountable. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry's statement offered condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured rapid recovery.

Further, the Russian statement noted that it is "very concerned about the terrorist attacks near the Line of Control" and said it was concerned by the fact that "...the army base near Uri was attacked from Pakistani territory."

Russia called on India to properly investigate this "criminal act" and make the organisers and perpetrators of this terror act accountable.

The country reiterated its "continued support" to India's counter-terrorism efforts.

Meanwhile, several Indian media reports have claimed that Russia has cancelled "Druzhba-2016," its first joint military exercises with Pakistan, which was supposed to be held from 24 September to 7 October.

It is not clear if Russia has indeed cancelled the military drill due to the Uri attacks or due to other factors.

However, Pakistan has denied such media reports suggesting the cancellation of joint military drills between Russia and Pakistan.

Qazi Khalilullah, Pakistan's Ambassador to Russia, claimed that the military exercises between the two countries will take places as scheduled, as reported by the Express Tribune.

This is the first such joint exercises between the Pakistani Army and the Russian Armed Forces.

Previously, Russia had assured India that the exercises were not being held in disputed areas of the region. 

"We were informed by the Russian Defence Ministry that these exercises will not be carried out in (disputed) areas, and a place was chosen that has nothing to do with this. Hence there is no reason for India to worry about it," Sputnik quoted Zamir Kabulov, Russian Foreign Ministry's director of the second Asian department, as saying on 16 September.

The military drills were to be held at Pakistan Army's High Altitude School in Rattu, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Special Services Group (SSG) training centre in Cherat area.

India previously also appealed to Russia to consider India's sensitivity when conducting military drills with Pakistan.

Russia is keen to improve ties with Pakistan as the latter looks to buy some advanced weapons. Russia recently secured a deal for four Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters from Pakistan. Pakistan is also exploring the possibilities of buying the advanced Su-35 fighter jets from Russia.

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