By Li Chun
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) "Peace Mission 2021" joint anti-terrorism military exercise wrapped up at the Donguz training range in Russia’s Orenburg Region on September 24. Progressive exercise subjects and improved coordination are highlighted in the exercise, which demonstrated the SCO’s unwavering resolve and commitment to safeguarding peace and regional stability in the past 20 years.
Staying abreast with the times
Just like a mirror, the latest exercise of the SCO “Peace Mission” series not only reflected the past realistic-combat experience, but also implied the needs of anti-terror combat at present and for some time to come.
It drew on lots of useful experience from several regional military conflicts in recent years, such as the Syrian war and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, tried some new tactical and training approaches that have been proven, and studied some hotspot issues in current anti-terror operations, for example, how to cope with the UAV that has been frequently used by terrorist forces in terrorist attacks recently.
Senior Colonel Li Shuyin, a researcher at the Chinese PLA Academy of Military Sciences, said that only by staying abreast with the times and closely following the changes in the form of battles and the enemy’s fighting tactics can the Peace Mission series better enhance the capability of striking and deterring international armed terrorists, as well as preserving regional security and stability.
The series of Peace Mission exercises under the SCO framework has been held more than ten times, always striving to raise the level of integrated operations, which is both a key and a crux.
According to Cui Haibo, a Chinese military officer participating in the recent exercise, the integration is reflected in three aspects. The first is the integration of forces, with participating troops from different countries working in coordination to fight against international terrorist forces. The second is legal and theoretical integration, which provides the legality for mutual support among the parties. And the third is strategic integration, which enables the participating troops to complement each other on the command level.
“To what extent the participating troops can make joint plans largely reflects the degree of integration of the exercise and guides their combined operations in the live-fire stage,” said Senior Colonel Li Shuyin, adding the fact that commanders from different countries worked side by side and jointly commanded the troops’ indicated integration in real and deep sense.
Fulfilling the Peace Mission in solidarity
In addition, the Peace Mission 2021 has demonstrated the SCO member states’ staunch resolve and acting capability to crack down on the “three forces” (terrorism, separatism and extremism), and their level of cooperation in defense and security.
“The SCO is not a military alliance aimed at countering aggression against any member,” said Li. “The exercises under this framework are focused on fighting international terrorist organizations in the region.”
In line with the expectations of the member states, the Peace Mission joint exercise serves two purposes, that are, enhancing the SCO members’ capability of fighting against the international terrorist organizations through exchanges and mutual learning, and sending a clear signal to those organizations that SCO is capable of defeating them.
At the same time, exercises like this help the member states better understand each other and deepen their friendship and mutual trust, so as to work in solidarity when faced with security threats, and jointly preserve peace and stability that’s more valuable than gold.