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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

India-China to hold joint army exercise in 2011

The Indian and Chinese armies will conduct their next round of joint military exercises in 2011, three years after they initiated the process, an official said Monday

The decision to hold the drill and work out a 'mechanism for defence exchange' was taken during the just-concluded visit of Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar to Beijing.

'During the year, the two sides will explore the possibility of holding a joint exercise in 2011 in China,' a senior defence ministry official said. As had happened in 2008, another joint drill will be held in India, the official added.

Kumar had led a 10-member delegation of senior armed forces officers and defence ministry officials to China Jan 6-7. He had met, among others, Chinese Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie. The delegation also visited an armoured division of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Academy of Military Science.

'The two sides have identified a number of areas on which further action will be taken for military cooperation. For 2010, both sides have discussed high-level delegation visits, exchanges between military training institutes and reciprocal exchanges for various courses, including language courses,' the official added.

The Indian and Chinese navies had held their first joint exercise in November 2003 off Shanghai on China's eastern seaboard. Subsequently, two ships of the Indian Navy made port calls at Qingdao and participated in a joint exercise with the PLA Navy in 2007.

The first bilateral army exercise between the two countries was organised in Kunming China late in 2007. The next joint army exercise was held in India in December 2008.

The year 2008 also saw high level visits of armed forces officials and defence ministry officials.

India and China had fought a bitter border war in 1962 and their relations remained frosty till the mid-1980s, when Rajiv Gandhi, who was then the prime minister, made a path-breaking visit to Beijing. Since then, there has been a steady warming of ties with exchanges in the political, economic and cultural fields. The two countries have also named special representatives to work out a roadmap for resolving their border row.

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