For the first time in a decade, Russia and NATO members will come together for joint military exercises that begin tomorrow in Pakistani waters. The drills, AMAN 2021, which will see over 40 countries taking part, including the United States and China, will continue till February 16. The participating nations will join the drills with ‘surface and air assets, special operation forces and maritime teams’. Among them are the UK, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia as also members of the African Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council. The exercises held every alternate year since 2007 aim at forging cooperation to fight piracy, terrorism and other crimes threatening maritime security. The last time the Russian navy took part in military drills with NATO states was in 2011, in the ‘Bold Monarch’ exercise in Spanish waters. Ties between the bloc and Russia have been strained since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the war in Syria.