China hopes resumption of Sino-India military drills will provide impetus to bilateral ties

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Beijing | Published: December 10, 2018 5:17:11 PM

After the Doklam standoff, the two militaries made efforts to improve relations following the Wuhan summit.

Officials earlier said both sides would field 100 personnel to take part in the seventh edition of the exercises.

China on Monday expressed hope that the resumption of military exercises between the Indian and Chinese armies that will begin on Tuesday would inject impetus and yield good results for the improvement of bilateral ties. An Indian military team headed by Col Puneet Tomar has arrived in China’s southwestern Chengdu city to take part in the ‘Hand-in-Hand’ military drills between the two armies starting there from Tuesday, the Indian Embassy here said. Officials earlier said both sides would field 100 personnel to take part in the seventh edition of the exercises.

The inaugural ceremony would be held on Tuesday and the drills would be concluded on December 23. The drills are being held after a gap of one year as they could not be held last year because both armies were locked in a 73-day standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim sector. Asked about how China viewed the exercises being resumed after Doklam, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said “we hope this can have a good results”. He referred to the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in April this year and the “important consensus” reached between the two leaders to improve relations. He noted that the two leaders had met four times this year.

The two countries should implement the consensus between the two leaders including the exchanges between the two militaries, Lu said. “Under the guidance of the consensus between the two leaders and through the concerted efforts of the two sides, I hope the exchanges between the two militaries can achieve positive outcomes, injecting impetus to the bilateral ties,” he said. The Chinese military earlier said the subject of the exercises will include adoptive and basic training, and live shooting.

“The drills will promote understanding between the two militaries and improving their capabilities in fighting terrorism,” Chinese defence ministry spokesman Col Ren Guoqiang had said last month. “True to its name which is ‘Hand-in-Hand’, we believe China and India’s militaries should work hand-in-hand to bring benefits to our people,” he said.

After the Doklam standoff, the two militaries made efforts to improve relations following the Wuhan summit. Besides resuming the defence dialogue after the standoff, the two countries also held the 21st round of border talks. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who are the Special Representatives for the border talks, held the discussions on November 24 in Chengdu during which they called for intensifying efforts to find a solution to the vexed border dispute. The two sides also held the ninth defence dialogue on November 13 led by Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Lt General Shao Yuanming, Deputy Chief of Joint Staff Department of Central Military Commission of China.

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