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India has pulled out of a multilateral military exercise hosted by Russia next month, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
A defense ministry statement dated Saturday said that India had decided not to send a contingent to the Kavkaz-2020 event in Russia “in view of pandemic and consequent difficulties in exercise.”
Around 20 nations are expected to participate in the exercise, which is due to begin on Sept. 15 in Russia’s southern Astrakhan region. Pakistan and China are among the countries expected to join the drill.
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India’s decision not to attend comes amid a deterioration in relations with China in the wake of a deadly Himalayan border clash in June. Longstanding differences with Pakistan also continue to simmer.