MOSCOW (RIA NOVOSTI)—The lower house of Russia’s parliament on Wednesday ratified an agreement formalizing the creation of a rapid reaction force for the Collective Security Treaty Organization, bringing the Russian-led alliance closer to a more NATO-like structure.
The CSTO’s rapid reaction force is, according to Moscow, designed to improve the security of the CSTO member states against existing and potential threats, including terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, and natural disasters, and to enhance the organization’s role in ensuring international security.
The CSTO is comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.
The Collective Rapid Reaction Force (CRRF) staged a two-week military exercise in southern Kazakhstan in October 2009 with more than 7,000 troops from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan taking part.