First joint training exercise
While CSTO states regularly join together in military exercises – most recently in 2011 when a force of 10,000 troops gathered in Central Asia – this session is the first to focus specifically on peacekeeping. Up to 1,000 troops from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgzstan, Russia and Tajikistan are involved. In the opening days, the troops will be merged into a collective CSTO peacekeeping force with multinational command and operational units. The remainder of the first week will be devoted to training in standard peacekeeping tasks such as separating the parties to a conflict, ensuring compliance with a ceasefire, transporting humanitarian aid cargoes, detecting and defusing explosive devices, and conducting search operations in a populated locality. During the second week, the CSTO peacekeeping force will be deployed across a range of locations, to participate in a simulated peacekeeping operation. This is expected to be of sufficient complexity to test the full range of peacekeeping tasks and may be based on a crisis scenario involving an international terrorist organization and interethnic tension. The peacekeeping manoeuvres follow the signing on September 29 of a memorandum between the CSTO and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations on cooperation in the field of conflict prevention and peacekeeping activity. The signatories committed to joint training of CSTO peacekeeping forces and to facilitating their participation in UN peacekeeping missions, as well as to sharing information and experience in the peacekeeping arena. UN observers have been invited to monitor the active phase of the CSTO peacekeeping exercise. Invitations have also been extended to representatives of the International Organization for Migration, the CIS Executive Committee and the diplomatic corps accredited in Kazakhstan. The 10th anniversary session of the CSTO Interstate Commission on military-economic cooperation will be held on November 1 in Astana. The Commission is expected to consider the issue of standardization of defence production to ensure the competitiveness of the defence industry across CSTO member states as well as the system for cataloguing supplies for the armed forces.