BEIJING - China and Pakistan will hold a month-long joint military exercise to boost cooperation between the two militaries and capability to jointly deal with terrorist threats including those targeting joint projects with China. A Chinese unit from a special forces brigade of the People’s Liberation Army Xinjiang Military Region has departed from their base camp and began mobilising in Pakistan for the “Warrior VII” joint exercise, using vehicles and aerial transportation, according to a statement released by China’s Ministry of National Defence. This is the seventh “Warrior” series exercise between the two countries’ special forces, the ministry said, noting that the drills will focus on deepening cooperation and communication, learning from each other’s combat experience and boosting the ability to deal with security threats and launch diversified missions.

A new exercise subject, joint defence of key facilities, will be added to the drills, as troops will engage in counter-terrorism in mountainous areas, according to the statement. Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing told the Global Times that key facilities might include iconic government and civilian buildings and major projects under CPEC. The drills will feature live ammunition that will put both commanders’ and soldiers’ capabilities to the test, said Yang Lei, commander of the Chinese unit, in the defence ministry statement, noting the event will enrich military training cooperation and deepen the traditional friendship between the Chinese and Pakistani armies. Chinese and Pakistani air forces wrapped up the half-month-long Shaheen VIII joint exercises, featuring some of the two countries’ top aircraft, in northwestern China in August. The two countries will also hold a joint naval exercise in Pakistani waters in January.