Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Defense: India, China armies begin 10-day anti-terror exercise

Source: IRNA

Ending a five-year hiatus, India and China Tuesday began a joint anti-terrorism military exercise, less than a fortnight after the two countries inked a comprehensive pact to avert recurring border stand-offs.

The 10-day exercise, code-named Hand-in-Hand 2013, is being held in southwest Chinas Sichuan Province and both sides have deployed about 150 soldiers each.

During the drill, the Indian and Chinese soldiers will conduct drills in tactical hand signals, arrest and escort, hostage rescue and joint attack, as well as a comprehensive anti-terror combat manoeuvre, official media reported.

Yang Jinshan, head of a Chinese military observer delegation and deputy commander of the Chengdu Military Area Command of the Peoples Liberation Army of China

Commenting on the drill, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, Since the beginning of this year China-India relations have scored new progress. Bilateral cooperation in the field of military has achieved in-depth development. Relevant military drill shows the enhanced political mutual trust between our two countries. We wish the drill a success.

China and India conducted their first annual anti-terror joint exercises in southwest Chinas Yunnan Province in 2007 followed by another round in 2008 in Karnataka.

The next round was called off by India following the denial of visa by China to a top Indian General heading troops in Jammu and Kashmir on the grounds that the region formed part of disputed territory.

The two sides resumed contacts after China rescinded its decision and began issuing regular visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, a move that facilitated a broad engagement between the two giant neighbours.

However border tensions flared up when Chinese troops pitched tents deep inside the Indian side of Line of Actual Control (LAC) in April this year.

It was resolved subsequently ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiangs visit to New Delhi in May followed by return visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month.

During Singhs visit, the two countries signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) which both sides believe will effectively address a host of issues causing tension at the disputed border.