Beyonce Laishram, North East’s 1st Transgender Doctor

Beyonce Laishram has been a warrior all her life, but the tag of COVID warrior pleases her best.

This 27-year-old resident medical officer at a private hospital in Imphal is not just Manipur’s first and only transwoman doctor, but she is also North East’s first transgender doctor and a symbol of hope for the state’s highly visible yet marginalised Nupi Maanbi (transwoman) community.

A former student of Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal, Beoncy today is taking part in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and said that she always wanted to become a doctor and help people.

“I look like a woman now, so no one realises I am a trans-person until they hear my voice. Some people are startled, but that’s it. I have been working here since November 2019 here. There was no discrimination or hate directed towards me here. All my colleagues treated me as a friend,” said Beyonce, who identifies as a post-operative transwoman after undergoing sex reassignment surgery in Puducherry.

She is also helping more disadvantaged Nupi Maanbis get access to healthcare.

Noted Surgeon Sorokhaibam Jugindra, Medical Superintendent of Shija Hospitals and Research Institute, where Beyonce works said, “Human beings are all equal. We didn’t look at Beyonce’s gender while hiring her. There was some curiosity among the staff initially, but that was all.”

Further, the state’s most prominent trans activist, Santa Khurai of All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association, said that stories like that of Beoncye’s are important for those who are struggling and especially during the crisis phase.

“She represents aspiration among the Nupi Maanbis. We don’t just work as beauticians,” she said.

“I knew that I was not a boy when I was in Class 8 at. However, I did not reveal my identity till I was in the third year of my MBBS,” Beyonce said narrating her struggles in her early years.

“It was a continuous struggle to establish my identity and make people accept it. Around 2016, I realised I could no longer live that life. It was then that I started identifying myself as a Nupi Maanbi.”

“The Nupi Mannbis of Manipur helped me a lot. I am preparing for my post-graduation in cosmetic surgery. I want to help the Nupi Mannbis back,” she added. (ANI)

Know Your Sea, Cadet!

At the southern tip of Mumbai, a ship, unconventionally built with cement and concrete, sits lonely, wafted by the Arabian Sea waves, anxiously awaiting its officers and cadets kept away by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Named after India’s first prime minister who had laid its keel in 1963, Training Ship Jawahar, as the name indicates, currently trains 2,300 of young boys and girls in seamanship – rowing, kayaking, canoeing and sailing – in naval affairs and rigours of being on the sea. But more than that, it inculcates discipline and prepares them for their future lives as caring, productive citizens.

Not everyone joins the military service or one of the many merchant navy companies. That many trained by Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) do get attracted to wearing uniform and have done well in these professions is, not a rule, but a natural corollary.

The ten-year-olds and teens from all sections of society first make a Promise to wear their uniforms smartly and bring pride to it. Once the cadet spends own money on that uniform, training in above and many more activities that are normally reserved for the rich anywhere else, come for just Rupees 400 annually. No fees for the sense of adventure that comes with it.

This culture of volunteering at the sea was initiated 82 years back in Karachi by a young entrepreneur, late Gokaldas Ahuja. It was appreciated by the Royal Indian Navy and the city’s elite that helped the Sea Scouts to build their landship at Chhina Creek. But that dream ended with the Partition. 

Ahuja and cadets met, symbolically, at the Gateway of India in Mumbai, then Bombay, to revive the movement. The Indian Navy and the citizenry embraced them.

Hard work, when hundreds became thousands of cadets trained in several port towns — and Nehru’s blessings – helped build Jawahar as the National Headquarters.

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Commissioned on February 10, 1966 by then President S. Radhankrishnan, Jawahar, now 54, besides Nehru’s name, carries a halo of its own that is sustained by training imparted to over 40,000 cadets to date.

The SCC’s history is also the veritable history of Bombay and other port cities in the decades that followed the Independence. Not just the prime ministers, governors and chief ministers, but also top Services brass, the business community and the social glitterati attend its Parades and the March-past on Independence Day by its units in many cities.

Girl cadets enrolled as early as 1955. Besides Vishakhapatnam (Vizag), Chennai, Goa and Kochi, SCC imparts training even in less-known Okha, Daman, Paradeep and Porbandar. Besides the Indian Navy, logistic and training support comes from the Indian Coast Guard, Army units and even a school in Ootacamund (Ooty).

Sea Cadet Corps is India’s only auxiliary body which is authorized to fly a Blue Ensign. To enable this, Parliament amended the Merchant Shipping Act.

Long years have seen generations of cadets, coached by volunteer-officers, some of whom have returned to Jawahar on retirement after completing their careers. Cadets have excelled in martial music and tattoo, while participating in regattas and water-sports events in the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.

The Corps has participated in global events and hosted some as part of an international movement of Sea Cadets and International Sea Cadets’ Association (ISCA) forging fraternal ties with 120,000 cadets in 18 countries that stretch from Canada to Hong Kong and Sweden to Britain.

This Indian movement received recognition from the British royalty in the early days. Its Parades were inspected by Queen Elizabeth II (in 1961) Prince Philip (1959) and Prince Charles (198O), besides Lord Louis Mountbatten (1964).  

Its Sail Training Ship Varuna became a model for a float at the Republic Day parade in 1982. And in 1987, Varuna represented India at the Bi-Centennial celebrations marking the founding of Australia.

After Nehru’s invitation, followed up by succeeding prime ministers SCC contingents participated in the Republic Day Parades till 1986, marching on New Delhi’s Rajpath. I was lucky to participate twice.

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Why do I talk about Sea Cadet Corps? Only because I trained with it? Or, because I was among those cadets that placed stones to reclaim the sea where Jawahar stands, and witnessed its rise — a huge super-structure, ship-like gangways, the Captain’s Cabin and portholes for windows?

See a larger picture before dismissing it as a weekend pursuit for the young. Some of the cadets who went on to join the armed forces were martyred during the conflicts in 1965 and 1971. Lt. Suresh Hiranand Kundamal went down with INS Khukri in 1971 and Major Vetri Nathan died in Kargil sector in 1971. Indeed, the road leading to Jawahar is named after Nathan and the one approaching the Gateway of India, after Flying Officer Prem Ramchandani who died during the 1965 conflict.

Air Marshal Adi Rustomji Ghandhi was awarded Vir Chakra in 1965. Flt lt. Cherry Raney led a strike mission over Hussainiwala in 1971 and destroyed an enemy tank.

Take a still larger picture. Besides the National Cadet Corps (NCC)’s Naval Wing, there certainly are sailing clubs along the Indian shores. But none imparts all-round seamanship training to volunteer, by volunteers, as the Sea Cadet Corps does.  

Truth be told, there is little focus on the sea – water in general—in India. View this in the context the fact that only a fourth of our world is land, but also that India has a vast coastline that juts into the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

India also straddles the Indian Ocean. I have often used this well-known fact while arguing to emphasize India’s importance as a seafaring nation with a cheeky question: “Sir, tell me another nation that has an ocean named after it?”

And yet, awareness of the sea is woefully poor in India’s security culture since the invader always came from its northwest. When the ‘enemy’ did come by the sea, as trader, India was colonized for over two centuries.

The Indian Navy remains small considering the nation’s maritime interests and its strategic reach on the high seas stretching from the Gulf of Hormuz to the Malacca Strait. It also remains the ‘silent’ Service, not supposed to seek ships and weapons. At least, not boast about it. Once when I wrote about higher budgetary allocations for the Navy, the Western Naval Command Chief pleaded with my editor to ask me to pipe down!

Take the current talk of India having to prepare to fight on two fronts in its north, without jeopardizing security at the sea. Can this be achieved, in short, medium or long term without creating general awareness and without dedicated and disciplined youth that must be trained, at least in the basics?

Or take the talk of PPP – public-private participation – in making the country self-sufficient in national defence. Shouldn’t the PPP concept be extended to and experimented with an auxiliary body like the Sea Cadet Corps?  Its motto, incidentally, is: “Ready Aye Ready.”

The writer can be reached at

China Continues Military Drills In South China Sea Region

The Chinese army has launched two sets of military drills in waters off the country’s east coast as tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea amid US military presence in the region.

Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong was quoted as saying by South China Morning Post that the drills in the Bohai and Yellow seas had the practical purpose of simulating both wartime attack and defence, should there be a conflict to unify Taiwan by force.

“Different scenarios, with a strong enemy or a weak enemy, need to be practised in drills,” Ni said.

Terming the recent drills as “routine training”, Diao Daming, an associate professor at Renmin University’s National Academy of Development and Strategy, told state broadcaster China Central Television that “the exercises were meant to boost public confidence and intimidate the US and Taiwan.”

“Although these drills do not target any specific country, in the face of power that is challenging our sovereignty and security, such drills can make the enemy yield without use of arms,” Diao said.

Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono on Saturday reiterated their commitment to maintain a ‘rules-based order’ in the East and South China Seas.

US Department of Defence, Esper hosted Kono in Guam, where they reaffirmed the strength of the US-Japan alliance and discussed ways to deepen and expand bilateral defence cooperation.

“Secretary Esper and Minister Kono exchanged views on their shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The Secretary expressed serious concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong, as well as coercive and destabilising actions vis-a-vis Taiwan,” the official statement said.

“Both ministers restated their commitment to maintain a rules-based order in the East and South China Seas, and more broadly in the region and world,” it stated.

The statement comes even as China continues to conduct military activities in the South China Sea region.

On Wednesday, China fired two missiles including an “aircraft-carrier killer” into the South China Sea as an act of “warning” to the United States after a US spy plane allegedly intruded into its army’s no-fly airspace, a source close to the Chinese military told the South China Morning Post.

This military exercise is the latest in a long string of China’s actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbours in the South China Sea, according to the US Defence Department. (ANI)

Joe Biden’s Lead Over Trump Narrows Down

Ahead of US Presidential elections in November, Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s national polling lead over Donald Trump has dwindled after this week’s Republican National Convention.

As per a Morning Consult survey reported by The Hill, Biden is leading with 50 per cent support among likely voters, compared with 44 per cent for Trump, with another 7 per cent undecided.

The current margin is lower than the 52-42 lead Biden had attained in the same poll on August 23, the day before the Republican Convention kicked off.

The poll surveyed 4,035 likely voters on Friday and has an error margin of 2 percentage points.

Although Trump has managed to narrow the lead, Biden still holds a larger lead over the former in other major polls.

According to The Hill, the convention has benefited Trump’s standing, cutting Biden’s lead with suburban voters and expanding Trump’s lead among white voters.

Earlier today, Trump mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden telling him to “get out of his basement and return to the campaign trail.”

“Now that Biden’s Polls are dropping fast, he has agreed to get out of his basement and start campaigning, in ten days. Sadly, that is a very slow reaction time for a President. Our beloved USA needs a much faster, smarter, and tougher response than that. Get out there today, Joe!” Trump tweeted.

The US Presidential Elections are set to take place on November 3 this year. (ANI)

Home Ministry Issues Guidelines For Unlock 4.0

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday issued new guidelines which open up of more activities in areas outside the containment zones in Unlock 4.

The guidelines will come into effect from September 1.

The unlocking process was started to revive economic activities after the lockdown was imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Ministry, the new guidelines are based on feedback received from states and union territories, and extensive consultations held with related central ministries and departments.

Under the new guidelines, the Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed metro rail services from September 7 in a graded manner.

“Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from September 7, 2020 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)/ Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by MOHUA,” a press release said.

The government also allowed social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations with a ceiling of 100 persons, with effect from September 21, 2020.

However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.

“Open air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from September 21, 2020,” it said.

All activities, except cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and similar places, shall be permitted outside containment zones

“Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till September 30, 2020. Containment zones shall be demarcated by the district authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed,” the ministry said.

The ministry also directed states not to impose any local lockdown outside containment zones.

“State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government,” it said.

Restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement has been lifted.

“There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.”

National directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensuring social distancing. Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of national directives.

The ministry said after extensive consultation with States and UTs, it has been decided that schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to September 30, 2020.

Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.

“Following will be permitted, in areas outside the containment zones only, with effect from September 21, 2020 for which, SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) – States/ UTs may permit up to 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching/ tele-counselling and related work; students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside the containment zones only, on voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/ guardians”.

Also from September 21, skill or entrepreneurship training will be permitted in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Short term training centres registered with National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other Ministries of Government of India or State Governments.

National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers will also be permitted.

“Higher Education Institutions only for research scholars (Ph.D.) and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory/ experimental works. These will be permitted by the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in consultation with MHA, based on the assessment of the situation, and keeping in view incidence of COVID-19 in the States/ UTs,” the release said.

Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, have been advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes. (ANI)

Four-Foot Cobra Sighted At Delhi Metro Station, Rescued

A four-foot-long Cobra was spotted by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) workers near a gate of Saket Metro Depot on Friday.

Authorities reported the incident to Wildlife SOS, following which the snake was safely rescued and relocated to a safe habitat.

According to a press statement, “a four-foot-long Cobra snake was spotted by the DMRC workers near the front gate of the Saket Metro Depot. The authorities took timely action and immediately reported the incident to Wildlife SOS on their 24-hour rescue helpline (+91-9871963535)”.

The snake was safely rescued by Wildlife SOS and relocated to a safe habitat. A two-member team from the NGO was deployed to carry out the rescue operation. When dealing with venomous snakes such as the cobra, it is extremely important to keep them calm and maintain public safety to avoid unnecessary accidents, the press statement read.

According to the press statement, Cobras inhabit a wide range of habitats in India and they can even be found in heavily populated urban areas. Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “Despite their reputation of being one of the deadliest snakes in India, cobras seldom bite but will give out a warning sign by displaying their hood. However, It is necessary to let trained snake rescuers handle such situations. We are grateful to the DMRC authorities for their cooperation.”

Wasim Akram, Deputy Director-Special Projects at Wildlife SOS, said, “Wildlife SOS reaches out to injured or distressed wildlife on a 24-hour basis. We request people to keep supporting our cause and immediately report any such situations on our helpline number.”

Recently, the NGO rescued a python from Saket Metro Station and a Cobra from the Okhla bird Sanctuary Metro Station, the press statement added. (ANI)

Pak Lawyer Abducted, Tortured For Anti-Army Speech

A Pakistani female advocate, who recently delivered a speech critical of the country’s armed forces, was abducted and tortured for days, before she was found by locals in a very bad condition in Mailsi of Punjab province earlier this month.

According to a video shared by Arif Aajakia, a human rights activist, the woman went on a tirade against the Pakistan Army, terming it an “enemy” during her address.

According to last week’s report in Geo News, the female advocate had been kidnapped from her office by unidentified men on August 14, police said. She was found in a semi-conscious state from a field near Dhoda Road in Mailsi.

The woman was discovered with her hands and legs tied and could not speak due to a cloth covering her mouth, police added.

In another video shared by Aajakia, the traumatised lawyer is being asked by locals about her condition. She said she was a resident of Dipalpur and confirmed that she was abducted, tortured and thrown into a field by four persons.

The advocate added that she was a mother of six.

She has been shifted to the Dipalpur tehsil headquarters (THQ) hospital, the district police officer (DPO) said, according to Geo News.

The police officer said that a first information report (FIR), including charges of kidnapping, was lodged by the victim’s son. A special team investigating the case recorded the woman’s statement.

The woman’s critical condition shows how people in Pakistan face dire and often fatal consequences for criticising the Pakistan Army, which is calling the shots.

The Pakistani armed forces have been accused of eroding democratic values and have a say in the domestic and foreign policy of the country, reducing the civilian government to a mere puppet.

In a country where criticism of the military is frowned upon, an unprecedented crackdown has been launched on dissent, where the Pakistan Army and the ISI are committing human rights abuses against people including human right activists and political activists, for their critical views against them.

Several activists, who have escaped from Pakistan, continue to hold Pakistan Army responsible for the enforced disappearances, murders and other crimes against dissenters.

Instead of taking a stern response of tackling terror on its soil, Pakistan military, instead, harbours terrorists and allows them to carry out attacks in neighbouring countries, including India and Afghanistan, while continuing to clamp down on dissent.

For instance, Manzoor Pashteen, a Pashtun human rights activist, has been jailed for criticising the Pakistan Army and taking out protests against the armed forces. Pashteen’s arrest sparked a huge demonstration in several parts of the country and many Pashtuns are demanding his release. He was subsequently released, but that has not quelled the protests against the Pakistani military.

Pashteen’s Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), which was founded in 2018, has organised regular demonstrations against Pakistan Army’s heavy-handed operations in tribal regions even as the military has evidently chosen to crush the movement with its all too familiar tactics.

Apart from Pashtuns, several Balochs and Sindhis in Pakistan and abroad have also launched protests against the government-military nexus and the establishment’s brutal crackdown on their communities. (ANI)

Canada Scraps Vaccine Trial Deal With Chinese Company

Canada has decided to cancel a coronavirus vaccine development agreement with the Chinese pharmaceutical company CanSino due to delay in the shipping of drugs.

According to the South China Morning Post, it is unclear if political tensions between the two countries had anything to do with the snag at the Chinese customs.

China’s National Research Council said that “The agreement between the NRC and CanSino had been reviewed prior to signature by CanSino’s collaborators in the Chinese Government – the Beijing Institute of Technology and the Ministry of Science and Technology – who had provided funding to CanSino.”

“Due to the delay in the shipment of the CanSino Covid-19 vaccine candidate doses to Canada and as CanSino has now completed phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials elsewhere, this specific opportunity is over and the NRC is focusing its team and facilities on other Covid-19 priorities,” the council said.

The Council said it has turned to its North American partners for collaboration and will go ahead in its COVID-19 vaccine development programme.

“We are also actively pursuing discussions with other partners to collaborate on other vaccine candidates and will announce these collaborations as they are confirmed,” it said.

CanSino, earlier this week, had refuted that ties had been cut, however, the government-funded body has now confirmed that clinical trials of vaccine candidate Ad5-nCoV would not go ahead in Canada.

According to the South China Morning Post, Ad5-nCoV, developed by China military scientists is among the leaders to produce a Covid-19 vaccine.

The National Research Council had signed an agreement with CanSino to conduct phase 1 trials in May. (ANI)

BSF Detects Tunnel Near Border With Pak In Jammu

BSF troops have detected a tunnel near the International Border in Samba area of Jammu region and unearthed nefarious design of Pakistan to infiltrate terrorists into Indian territory.

BSF officials said the tunnel starts in Pakistan along the border and ends in Samba and could not have been built without the approval of Pakistani Rangers and other agencies. Security forces deployed at the site where the tunnel has been found.

Boder Security Force Inspector General (Jammu) NS Jamwal said on Saturday that mouth of the tunnel was properly reinforced by sandbags, which had proper markings of Pakistan and added.

He said a protest will be lodged with the Pakistani authorities over the same.

“We were getting input about the existence of a tunnel in the Samba area of Jammu and Kashmir. A special team found the tunnel yesterday,” Jamwal said at a press conference here.

According to an official release, a BSF patrol party detected a tunnel of approximately 20 feet long and 3-4 feet in diameter in Indian territory near border fencing in Basantar area in Samba district on August 28.

“The mouth of the tunnel was properly reinforced with sandbags and they have proper markings of Pakistan, which clearly shows that it was dug with proper planning and engineering,” Jamwal said.

“Without the concurrence and approval of Pakistani Rangers and other agencies, such a big tunnel cannot be built. A protest will be lodged with Pakistani authorities, asking them to take action against the guilty,” he added.

The release said that the place of opening of the tunnel is around 170 meters from the International Border towards Indian side in the field of a local farmer.

“With this detection, the alert BSF troops foiled the nefarious design of Pakistan to infiltrate terrorists into Indian territory. The tunnel’s origin is in Pakistan territory close to IB. Efforts of alert BSF troops deployed in our multi-tiered counter-infiltration grid once again resulted in neutralizing the evil designs of terrorists in deep connivance with Pak Rangers,” the release said.

The BSF said that there have been regular inputs about the presence of terrorists in border villages of Pakistan who have been desperately looking for infiltration into Indian territory.

“Ever vigilant BSF troops foiled a desperate attempt of anti-national elements to infiltrate into India,” the release said.

Jammu & Kashmir: Security forces deployed at the site where a tunnel has been found in Samba by Border Security Force (BSF). The tunnel starts in Pakistan along the border and ends in Samba, according to Jammu BSF IG NS Jamwal. (ANI)

India Drops Out Of Military Drill With China In Russia

Ajit K Dubey

In a big step in the backdrop of an ongoing conflict with China in eastern Ladakh, India is likely to convey to Russia that its troops would not be participating in the multinational military exercise Kavkaz-2020 where Chinese and Pakistani troops are also going to be there.

The Indian authorities have also taken into account the worsening global COVID-19 situation where India alone is witnessing over 70,000 positive cases daily to take a decision regarding participation in the wargames being held in the Astrakhan area of Southern Russia.

“A high-level meeting was held in South Block in which External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat were present. After the meeting, it was discussed that it would not be right to take part in the multilateral exercise where Chinese and Pakistani military personnel would also be present,” defence sources told ANI here.

Sources said while India is locked in a military conflict with the Chinese in eastern Ladakh and on high alert all along the 4,000 kilometre Line of Actual Control (LAC), it cannot be business as usual for us to be participating in multilateral military exercises with them.

India and China had clashed in the Galwan valley on June 15 in which 20 Indian troops had lost their lives while the Chinese also suffered a number of casualties with scores of Chinese soldiers killed and injured there.

Sources said Indian defence minister would be visiting Russia on September 4-6 for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation defence ministers’ meeting but it is unlikely that the Indian representative would be holding any talks with his Chinese counterpart.

During the meeting, India may raise the point of expansionist policies of the Chinese along the Indian border but a final decision in this regard would be taken closer to the event, sources said.

India was invited by Russia to participate in the tri-services exercise with a contingent of around 200 personnel to Southern Russia in September for the multi-lateral Kavkaz-2020.

The exercise is being held in the Astrakhan province of Southern Russia where member countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Central Asian countries would be participating.

Exercise Tsentr last year had the participation of India, Pakistan and all SCO member-nations.

India and China have been engaged in a territorial conflict in Eastern Ladakh and Sub Sector North (Ladakh) where Chinese troops have transgressed into multiple areas and are refusing to completely disengage in areas such as Finger, Depsang Plains and Gogra heights. Both sides have amassed over 40,000 troops on their respective side of the LAC with the induction of heavy weaponry including long-range artillery and tanks. (ANI)