China hosts 1st multinational peacekeeping drill amid rising terror risks after US debacle in Afghanistan
Published: Sep 06, 2021 08:58 PM
A group of armored vehicles attached to a combined arms brigade under the PLA 81st Group Army maneuver on dirt roads in speed to a designated training base for a tactical test on August 12, 2021. ( by Xue Wei)

A group of armored vehicles attached to a combined arms brigade under the PLA 81st Group Army maneuver on dirt roads in speed to a designated training base for a tactical test on August 12, 2021. ( by Xue Wei)

The first multinational peacekeeping live exercise hosted by the Chinese military kicked off in Central China on Monday, with training on subjects including reconnaissance, patrol, armed escort, anti-terrorist attack and battlefield rescue to be held in the coming 10 days.

Also participating in another joint anti-terrorism exercise scheduled to start on Saturday, China will be in two simultaneous peacekeeping and anti-terrorism drills at a time when the security situation in Afghanistan is drastically changing after US' withdrawal and as the risk of terrorism spillover is rising, highlighting China's responsibility in safeguarding regional peace and stability, said experts.

The Shared Destiny-2021 multinational peacekeeping live exercise started with an opening ceremony on Monday morning at the combined arms tactical training base of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army in Queshan county, Central China's Henan Province, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on the day.

Troops from China, Mongolia, Pakistan and Thailand marched toward the exercise field immediately after the ceremony. The troops will practice almost all major operational patterns in UN peacekeeping missions, including reconnaissance, patrol, armed escort, civilian protection, anti-terrorist attack, setup of temporary operation base, battlefield rescue and epidemic control, until the end of the drill on September 15, CCTV reported.

Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesperson at the Chinese Defense Ministry, said at a regular press conference in August that more than 1,000 troops involving units of infantry, fast response, security, helicopter, engineering, transportation, and medical services are participating in the Shared Destiny-2021, the first of its kind organized by the Chinese military.

This is not the only exercise involving anti-terrorism China is holding in September. The Chinese Defense Ministry also announced in late August that China will send more than 550 troops together with 130 vehicles mainly from the PLA Northern Theater Command to the Peace Mission-2021 joint anti-terrorism exercise of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states to be held at Donguz training range in Orenburg, Russia, from Saturday to September 25.

Themed on the subject of preparation and implementation of joint anti-terrorism operations by troops of SCO member states, the drill will cover a slew of training items, including reconnaissance and monitoring, firepower strike, peripheral blockade and control, sweeping terrorists' dens in streets, forward defense, ground assault, as well as separation, encirclement and annihilation of the terrorists, and resistance to drone attacks.

China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will send a total of about 4,000 troops to the drill, the Xinhua News Agency reported on August 27.

Both exercises are being held at a time shortly after the US made its irresponsible, hasty and chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan that has led to a degradation of the security situation in and around the region.

The US troop withdrawal has caused a series of problems including terrorist attacks, and will likely cause further unrest in the region, including a spillover of terrorist and extremist groups to neighboring countries and regions, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Monday.

Against this situation, the joint exercises will display China's responsibility and capability in contributing to safeguarding regional peace and stability, Wei said.