US, Serbia to conduct multiple joint training drills for reinforcing regional security
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 11-Apr-2017

Belgrade, April 11: The United States and Serbia on Monday agreed to reinforce regional security including joint military and police training drills etc. Both the parties agreed to have ‘six or seven’ joint training drills this year. However, both the countries have also agreed to strengthen diplomatic relations.
Serbian Prime Minister and President-elect Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia and the United States have agreed for boosting of to regional security including joint military and police training drills. Vucic further noted that both the countries also discussed regional stability, including talks between Serbia and Kosovo on normalizing relations, and the political crises in ethnically divided Macedonia and Bosnia.

On the other side, Republican Senator John McCain who also chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee that the two sides will have "six or seven" joint training drills this year. During his one-day visit to Serbia, McCain attended a training between country's elite SAJ police unit, a detachment of the U.S. Special Operations Command and a military unit from Slovenia, an ex-Yugoslav republic and now NATO member.

"I am sure Mosul and Raqqa will fall," McCain told a news conference speaking through an interpreter, referring to two Islamic State strongholds in Iraq and Syria. "Many people (seeking to do violence) may (then) come to Europe and the U.S., therefore joint drills are important," McCain said.

Notably, Serbia is maintaining a balancing act between the West and Russia, its traditional Orthodox Christian and Slavic ally. In 2016, Serbia conducted 206 joint military activities with the United States and NATO, and 17 with Russia. It will later this year participate in a training drill in Kazkhstan staged by the Russia-controlled Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Although it wanted to join the European Union, Serbia has adamantly refused to join NATO which bombed it in 1999 during the war in Kosovo. In 2008, with the U.S. backing, Kosovo declared independence.