India, China plan to hold Navy, Air Force exercises

New Delhi, Jul 11: Seeking to strengthen mutual trust between their armed forces, India and China are planning to hold exercises between their navies and air forces in the near future.

The armies of the two countries already hold exercises between them, codenamed Hand-to-Hand. Its third edition would be held in Chengdu military region of China in October. During the recent discussions, the two sides have agreed that there should be exercises between the Navies and the Air Forces also, sources said.

The initial exercises would be elementary in nature but later on, their levels can be increased, they said. The schedule of the exercises and their time-frames would be decided in the meetings between the armed forces of the two countries, they said.

Both sides have also agreed that the navies and air forces of both the countries will undertake enhanced professional exchanges, the Defence Ministry had recently said during the visit of Defence Minister A K Antony there.

The two sides have also agreed to enhance ties between the military headquarters and exchange more number of young officers to enhance mutual trust. Armies of India and China held their first exercises in 2007 at Belgaum in Karnataka with plans to hold such events annually. Similar exercises were held in 2008 at China's Kunming city. The drills were later disrupted over China's new policy of granting visas on piece of paper to residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

China also denied visa to a top General of Jammu and Kashmir-based Northern Command, after which India called off military contacts.


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