On Tuesday, Russia kick started the largest ever war games since Soviet era – called as Vostok 2018 along with China and the two nations will mobilise millions of troops to perform the largest military exercise ever – since World War II.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and the two launched the Russia-China joint military exercise called Vostok 2018 on Tuesday, the largest ever war games in the history of Russia. The week long war games will feature 3,00,000 soldiers, 3600 military vehicles, 1000 aircraft, 80 warships as well as numerous helicopters and drones – just from the Russian army. And 3500 troops, 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircrafts will be sent out by China to join the mega Vostok 2018 military drills at Siberian firing range.

Named as Vostok, which means East in Russian, the military drill is held in Russia’s far-east, close to Mongolia and China – and the significant participation of the Chinese mirrors their shift towards full-fledged military alliance with Russia. Even Putin called this military exercise to be a reflection of “friendship that is getting stronger all the time”. And the fact that such massive-sized war games reprise the massive Soviet-era military exercises during the peaks of Cold War – which NATO sees as “a rehearsal for a major conflict”.

Conflict or not, one can simply imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles – and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible. It would be a spine-chilling spectacle and an unmatchable display of prowess, a strong military muscle flex indeed. It is something that could wave out to the shores of the States, but what Russia and China keeps saying is, it is just an exercise to make their friendship, even stronger.

1