'Center-2011' military exercises started
Kazakhstan, Astana, Sept. 19 / Trend A. Maratov /
The large joint strategic exercises "Center-2011" have been launched in Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan today, the Kazakh Ministry of Defense said.
The exercises will continue until September 26. They aim to develop a unified approach towards creating, operating and using troops (the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force and the Collective Rapid Deployment Forces of the Central Asian region) in case of armed conflicts in the region.
About 12,000 servicemen and 1,000 units of weapons, military and special equipment including 100 tanks and 50 planes, and 10 combat vehicles are planned to be involved in the exercises from the CSTO member-states.
The "Union Shield 2011" exercises are being conducted in the Russian firing ground Ashuluk. The main efforts are focused on joint actions of the Belarusian and Russian sides of a joint regional air defense system.
The "Union Shield" and "Center-2011" exercises have common topics and tasks. They involve all participants - Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine, the report said.