Chinese army team arrives for anti-terror drill with India (Lead, changing dateline)

December 4th, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Belgaum (Karnataka), Dec 4 (IANS) Indicative of the growing military-military cooperation between India and China, a 137-member team of the People’s Liberation Army arrived at this cantonment town Thursday for the second joint anti-terror drill with the Indian Army beginning here Friday.The drill, named Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2008, “is aimed at expanding and strengthening military-to-military ties between the two armed forces,” a defence ministry statement said.

During the course of joint training that will last till Dec 14, the Chinese troops from an infantry battalion of the Chengdu Military Area Command and Indian Army troops from for a Maratha Light Infantry battalion “will undergo joint tactical manoeuvres and drills, interoperability training, and joint command post procedures, culminating in a joint counter-terrorist operational exercise with a simulated enemy.

“The exercise is planned at mixed company group level with command and control elements from the respective battalions’ headquarters,” the statement added.

A joint directing panel of officers of both the armies will supervise the training and manoeuvres.

“The helicopter assets of the Indian Air Force will also be incorporated for conducting special heli-borne manoeuvres and assault operations,” the statement said.

A high-ranking PLA delegation, as also senior Indian Army officers, are expected to visit the exercise venue as observers.

A 13-member Chinese delegation led by a senior colonel - equivalent to an Indian Army brigadier - was in India Oct 21-23 to attend the initial planning conference and discuss details of the exercise.

The detailed planning and coordination for conducting the exercise were finalized during the visit of eight-member Indian Army delegation led by a brigadier to Chengdu Nov 20-23.

The Chinese contingent had earlier arrived in a military aircraft at Pune. After a brief reception at the Pune airfield, six Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft transported the Chinese army personnel and their stores were to Belgaum.

The joint exercise is the second in the series, the previous one having been conducted in Kunming, China late last year.

Earlier, India and China had held their first joint naval 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.

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