China has said that its first ever joint military exercise with Nepal, dubbed as “Mount Everest Friendship”, would strengthen the nations’ military ability to coordinate in fighting terrorism and help maintain regional peace, stability and security. “China and Nepal are two friendly neighbours. I believe it is a good thing for the two countries to expand practical cooperation in various fields and promote common development, including making joint efforts to maintain regional security and stability, through friendly consultations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang’s Regular said during a briefing. Named ‘Sagarmatha Friendship-2017′ by Nepal, the joint military drill began at Nepal Army’s Para Training School in Maharajgunj on Sunday.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s squad arrived in the capital to participate in the 10-day military exercise that will focus on counter terrorism and disaster response, reports the Kathmandu Post.
The joint training with China marks Nepal’s extension of military diplomacy. Kathmandu has long been conducting joint military drills with India and the US.
According to the Nepal Army (NA), spokesperson Brig. Gen. Jhankar Bahadur Kadayat, a small Chinese troop will be participating in the first ever drill with an equal number of NA personnel.
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He, however, did not give the exact number of the troops.
The NA has said the joint military exercise with China is a step towards preparations against the possible threat from terrorism.
Engagement of defence forces from the two countries has lately increased as on February 19, Major General Zhao Jinsong of the western command of the People’s Liberation Army of China was in Nepal on a three-day visit.
That was followed by a visit by Defence Minister and State Councillor Chang Wanquan in the third week of March. Chang had announced 300 million Yuan (Rs. 4.5 billion) in military aid to the NA during his visit.