Pranab defends joint military exercise with China

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Bangalore, Dec 27 (UNI) Strongly defending the first-ever Indo-China joint anti-terrorism military exercise 'Hand-in-Hand 2007', External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today described it as a part of India's 'security strategy'.

Talking to newspersons on the sidelines of the 80th conference of the Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahithya Sammelan, he said it was a practice and the policy of the Indian Government to interact and organise joint exercises with various countries.

''The joint military exercise is also to demonstrate that India and China are working together on various bilateral issues,'' he added.

Mr Mukherjee said India had held such joint military exercises with Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, France, Malaysia and Thailand, apart from China.

The latest joint military exercise with China was the outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Defence Ministries of China and India on May 29, 2006, for exchange and cooperation in the field of defence.

UNI

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