Russia & China head military operation
The manoeuvres called Peace Mission 2007 will involve more than 6,000 troops.
Thousands of troops, tonnes of equipment and dozens of planes and helicopters – orchestrating the arrival of the Shaghai Cooperative Organisation’s Peace Mission 2007 – requires military precision before it's even begun.
Russia is readying itself for action and hosting soldiers and pilots from five other nations in an area which, during the Soviet Union was closed off, from the prying eyes of those outside the USSR, let alone their military.
With a warm welcome after touching down at Chagall airport near Chelyabinsk, the paratroopers and air personnel from China will be joined by thousands more troops from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. They will train together and only then will the war games commence.
The SCO was formed back in 2001 over a shared anxiety of terrorism and Islamic extremism in Central Asia.
Initially a talking shop, since then it has expanded its remit to disaster relief, and search and rescue.
China and Russia have had a peace mission before, back in 2005, but the latest brings together for the first time all the SCO members. It’s also the largest number of troops China has sent so far from home for an exercise.
Morale will be kept up with some home comforts, like imported food and translators used to break through the language barrier during the operation. Coming to an end on August 17, the exercise then will travel on to Chinese soil.