Chinese drills with Laos and Belarus begin

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The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) opened the China-Laos Friendship Shield 2024 military exercise with the Lao People’s Armed Forces (LPAF) on July 5 in a ceremony held at the LPAF’s Kommadam Academy training ground.

According to reports, Chinese and Lao troops conducted subject matter exchanges including the operation of mine-clearance and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment, unarmed combat and combat medicine. This marks the second occasion on which both militaries have held this series of joint exercises. A China Ministry of National Defense (MND) release read,  “under the theme of “joint defensive operations”, the participating troops will conduct drills in multi-weapon shooting, unit tactics, and combat support operations, to enhance their capabilities in executing diverse missions.”

The PLA’s Hong Kong Garrison will reportedly make up the bulk of the 300 PLA personnel deployed to Laos for the drills which would run until July 18.

PLA forces also arrived in Belarus to participate in bilateral anti-terrorism exercises around the Belarusian city of Brest, just five kilometres from the Polish border. Codenamed “Eagle Assault”, the drills would begin on July 8-19.

The PLA Ground Force (PLAGF) deployed the 80th Group Army which had already carried out intensive training on individual combat skills and unit tactical coordination beforehand.The PLA said the exercise would centre on counter-terrorism operations, with joint hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations to increase interoperability and strengthen practical cooperation between both forces.

Meanwhile, Belarus’ Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces reportedly stated that the exercise is reportedly a response to the “West’s aggressive foreign policy towards Belarus” and to “Ukrainian provocation.” Belarus is a close ally of Russia and previously held nuclear drills with Russian forces just last month in June where Belarusian and Russian troops practiced deploying nuclear weapons together.-shp/adj/dl (Pix:China MND)