Chinese and Russian militaries link up, but analysts say both sides have differing objectives
Last Friday, Russia and China celebrated the end of a week of military exercises with jets and cannons, offering a live-fire finale to the event. The exercises were touted by both countries as a new peak in bilateral military operations. The exercises were also the first of their kind to utilize a joint command and control system, with Russian troops integrated into Chinese formations. The Chinese Defense Ministry also stated that the event provided an opportunity for both sides to test new weaponry, and for Russian troops to test out Chinese-made equipment such as armored assault vehicles for the first time. The drills had a goal of enhancing anti-terrorism capabilities, according to both sides.
The exercises come as the security situation in Afghanistan becomes more severe amid the collapse of the Afghan government in Kabul. However, analysts in the West and in Russia have questioned the real military value of the exercises, suggesting that the two countries may have collaborated for the show of arms for publicity rather than practicality. Analysts also claim that the pair have different agendas in areas such as propaganda and economics.