Initiated first in 2011, the two-week long exercise focuses on high-altitude, mountains and counter-extremism

Taking forward the strategic partnership between India and the Kyrgyz Republic, the 8th India-Kyrgyz Joint Special Forces Exercise Khanjar began in Bishkek on Friday.

The 8th India-Kyrgyz Joint Special Forces Exercise ‘Khanjar’ was inaugurated at Special Forces Brigade of National Guards of Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek, a statement of the Indian Embassy in Bishkek said.

Initiated first in 2011, the two-week long exercise focuses on high-altitude, mountains and counter-extremism.

Commander of Kyrgyz National Guards, Colonel Ergeshov Talantbek, in his opening remarks, commended high-altitude resilience of the two personnel and their camaraderie and interoperability, the statement said.

Recalling India-Kyrgyz civilizational bonds, Ambassador Alok A. Dimri welcomed the Indian contingent for the Exercise and felicitated their role as a bridge in promoting shared mountain and nomadic-heritage of the two peoples, said the statement.

A ceremonial parade graced the occasion along with a display of equipments and weapons and a visit to the training arena and barracks, according to the Indian Embassy.

Last year, Chief of General Staff of Kyrgyz Armed Forces and Defence Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Major General Raiimberdi Duishenbiev had met Rakhsha Mantri Rajnath Singh and discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to defence cooperation between the two countries on the sidelines during the DefExpo 2020.

In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had paid an official visit to the Kyrgyz Republic at the invitation of President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

The two sides had then decided to raise bilateral relations to the level of Strategic Partnership and a Joint Declaration on establishing strategic partnership was issued.

The Joint Declaration reiterated their commitment to achieving closer ties between their defense forces and expressed readiness to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of defense, training of defense personnel including mountain training, joint exercises, UN peacekeeping and military-technical cooperation in the areas of mutual interest.

In connection with the increasing level of terrorist and extremist threats, the two sides had attached great importance to combat these challenges by strengthening cooperation in the areas of law enforcement and capacity building in the field of guarding borders, the Joint Declaration stated further.