India and Pakistan Participate in First SCO Military Drill
India and Pakistan took part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s biannual anti-terrorism military drill from August 22 to 29 in Chebarkul, Russia, marking the two countries’ first participation in an sco military drill since they became full members of the organization last year.
The sco is a political, economic and security alliance led by Russia and China that also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The Peace Mission 2018 military drill was conducted by Russia’s Central Military Commission, with more than 3,000 soldiers from seven sco member states participating. The military exercise focused primarily on training soldiers in how to deal with terrorism and extremism.
India’s entrance into the group last year was notable in part because of its previously strained relationship with China. A war broke out in 1962 after China attacked India to secure its Tibetan borders. The relationship has remained tense ever since, with India hindering China’s Belt and Road Initiative, China increasing its military presence in the Indian Ocean, and frequent border skirmishes between the two most-populous nations on Earth.
A major factor enabling India’s entrance into the sco was its intimate relationship with Russia. Russia is India’s largest weapons exporter and its most reliable military partner. In July, India purchased Russia’s newest missile system in response to China acquiring the same missile system. India and Russia have agreed to boost bilateral trade to $30 billion by 2025. Now that India has joined the sco, relations are expected to improve further.
India’s entrance into the sco is also deeply significant because Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has identified Russia as the nation that will lead an end-time Asian military bloc referred to in Bible prophecy as “the kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12). Mr. Flurry’s forecast is based on prophecies in Ezekiel 38, Daniel 11 and other chapters showing that a union of Asian nations led by Russia will emerge on the world scene in the end time.
Based on Ezekiel 38:6, Mr. Flurry has also said that India will be part of this Asian alliance. In his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia,’ he writes:
Ezekiel’s prophecy says the Russian-led army will include “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya … Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people …” (Ezekiel 38:5-6). Gomer refers to Japan …. Ethiopia and Libya should be translated “Cush” and “Phut.” Some of Cush and Phut migrated to African nations, but the rest settled in parts of India. The context of this passage shows that it refers to modern-day Indians (and perhaps Pakistanis) rather than Africans.
Russia and China are the main powers driving the biblically prophesied cooperation of “the kings of the east,” and the sco appears to be a major tool they are using to do so. Most onlookers today view China, not Russia, as the sco’s main power. But India’s membership in the sco could boost Russia’s standing significantly. The latest round of sco military drills are helping to set the stage for the leaders, economies and militaries of “the kings of the east” to unite.