BISHKEK, September 16. /TASS/. The Center-2019 (Tsentr-2019) military drills involving Kyrgyz and Russian servicemen kicked off in Kyrgyzstan on Monday, the Central Asian state’s General Staff said in a statement. "An opening ceremony for strategic command and staff exercises Center-2019 took place at the Edelweiss training ground on September 16," the statement reads.
According to the General Staff, some 500 servicemen from the two countries, nearly 100 pieces of military and special equipment, artillery, transport and army aviation as well as drones are involved in the drills.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu pointed out that the drills are defensive and are not directed against third countries. During the week the Russian army and servicemen of seven more states will "neutralize" the terrorist threat in the Central Asian strategic direction.
Under the drills’ scenario, international terrorists, religious and extremist organizations and other destructive forces seek to destabilize the situation in Central Asia by taking advantage of external and domestic problems there. Their major goal is to establish an Islamic state called Caliphate. The main theme of the drills is the use of a coalition army group in the fight against international terrorism and in providing military security in Central Asia.
The goal of joint drills is to "create an effective mechanism for countering new challenges and risks posing a major threat to national, regional and international security," Kyrgyz Ground Forces Commander-in-Chief Almazbek Karasartov, who oversees the exercises, stated, according to the General Staff.
Ahead of the drills, the Kyrgyz troops had undergone an intensive operational and artillery training, also practicing to establish communication and set up a tent camp, the General Staff said. Servicemen from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, China and Pakistan are taking part in the drills.