In a confidence-building exercise held only days after the meeting between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping, India and China have carried out the second edition of the joint military exercise in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
The exercise, held on October 18, was held under the provisions of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement signed by the two Asian giants in 2013. This was the follow-up of the first drill that took place in February this year on the Chinese side. The exercise, entitled “Sino India Cooperation 2016,” was part of the “Hand in Hand” joint drills to enhance peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The joint exercise, held in the area of the Border Personnel Meeting Hut at Chushul Garrison of Eastern Ladakh with the Chinese troops of Moldo Garrison, was firstly aimed at refining the drills for the border villages in case of a natural calamity or disaster. The two sides carried out rescue and relief operations. Secondly, it aimed at increasing the level of trust and cooperation between the guarding forces of India and China along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
In a statement, the Indian Army said that the joint exercise was a success. “It has not only refined the drills to provide succour to the border population in case of natural calamity, but it has also increased the level of trust and cooperation between the two border guarding forces along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, “it added.
“During the day long exercise on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) a fictitious situation of earthquake striking an Indian Border village was painted. Thereafter joint teams carried out rescue operations, evacuation and rendering of medical assistance,” said the statement.
The joint exercise took place against the backdrop of differences between India and China on a host of issues, including the sanctioning of UN designated terrorist Masood Azhar and the deepening military and economic relationship between China and Pakistan. The exercise indicated that despite differences over terrorism and Beijing’s non-committal attitude towards New Delhi’s membership of the NSG, the two Asian powers are focusing on building trust and sustaining momentum in bilateral relations. The two countries conveyed their intent to scale up economic and security cooperation during the talks between PM Modi and President Xi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in India’s western state of Goa.
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