CSTO rapid deployment force begins drills in Tajikistan
The rapid deployment force of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member countries on Monday begins anti-terrorism drills in Tajikistan as part of the Centre-2011 strategic exercises, Dmitry Matushkin, an aide to the force's commander, said.
According to Matushkin, the drills will be held at the Lyaur ground of Russia's 201st base, Itar-Tass reported.
The drills are to train skills in a special operation to eliminate illegal gang formations and to help elaborate joint approaches in case of a conflict in Central Asia, a spokesman for the Russian defence ministry told Itar-Tass.
Apart from these drills, the program of Centre-2011 exercise features drills in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and in the basin of the Caspian Sea. The drills to be held under relevant bilateral agreements involve military command and army units from SCTO members states, namely Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
In all, up to 12,000 servicemen, some 50 airplanes and helicopters, up to ten warships and auxiliary ships, and Russian rapid deployment police, security, and emergencies groups will take part in the exercise, as well as army units from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
On Sunday, state flags of the countries whose servicemen participate in the drills were hoisted at the Lyaur ground.
The final stage of the drills will be firing practice involving aviation and armoured vehicles.