Next India-China war game later this year: Antony

March 3rd, 2008 - 10:12 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) India Monday clearly signalled its intention to ramp up its military ties with China with the defence ministry announcing that the second war game between the two armies would be conducted in this country in September-October. “The next joint exercise between India and China is likely to be held in September-October,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

“The joint exercises will be hosted alternately by the two countries,” he added.

The first such exercise was conducted Dec 19-27 at Kunming in China’s Yunnan province. An infantry company of 100 soldiers participated in the exercise, conducted on the theme of counter-insurgency in an urban environment.

“The exercise has given impetus to the ongoing confidence building measures between the two countries and is a positive step towards increased military-to-military interaction,” Antony said.

“The joint exercises with other friendly foreign countries are considered on a case-to-case basis based on our need to engage them as directed by our National Security guidelines,” the minister added.

Speaking at the conclusion of the first war game, Brig. S.S. Dadwal, who led the Indian contingent, said: “This is another step to deepen our cooperation and understanding.”

The war game followed the activation last year of the annual defence dialogue (ADD) between the two countries. The ADD is a component of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed during then Indian defence minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to China in 2006, during which he also toured a number of military establishments in the country.

The MoU was seen as a major step forward in improving India-China ties that had remained frosty since the two countries fought a bitter border war in 1962.

The thaw began in the mid-1980s and the two countries have made considerable progress since then with the two countries putting the border issue on the backburner as they move forward in the economic, political and cultural spheres.

The war games will bring the military sector within the ambit of the improving ties.

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