Indian Army team arrives in China for joint exercises

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Kunming, China, Dec 19 ((UNI) Opening a new chapter in China-India ties, an Indian Army Contingent of 103 men arrived here today as part of the first-ever joint military exercises between the two countries beginning from tomorrow.

Col J S Budhwar, who is leading the Indian side, said the exercise would help both sides in developing trust and understanding in each other and open new areas of cooperation between the two armies.

''This will prove useful as the two nations share long border and have faith in each other that would go a long way in creating a better understanding to tackle the menace of terrorism,'' he said.

''Most of the countries are affected by terrorist activities and it is necessary that we start cooperating with one another to erase it from the face of the world,'' Col Budhwar said.

The joint exercises, code named 'Hand-in-Hand, 2007', are being conducted in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on exchange and cooperation in the field of Defence signed between the two countries in 2006.

Based on the theme of counter terrorism, the exercise will be on till December 25.

An Armed Reconnaissance company of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and an equivalent unit of Indian Troops will participate in the exercise which will include establishment of a joint command post, joint battle decision making and conduct of anti-terrorism drills.

''The joint training exercise reflects the growing relations between India and China in the field of Defence,'' officials said.

Earlier this year, two ships of the Indian Navy made a port call at Qingdao and participated in a joint exercise with the PLA Navy.

The two countries also held their first ever Annual Defence Dialogue in China in November this year.

Before departure of the Indian contingent from Guwahati this morning, Col Badhwar said ''this is an historic occasion and a very significant one. This is for the first time that troops of the Indian Army will be participating in a joint exercise with troops of the Peoples Liberation Army of China.'' A ceremonial welcome was accorded to the Indian Contingent on its arrival at Kunming Airport.

The contingent was received by Senior Colonel Tian, Senior Colonel Zhang, Senior Colonel Wu Hiao Yi and more than 40 officers of PLA with a ceremonial band in attendance.

UNI

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