M A I N   N E W S

India, China to resume military exercises
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, September 4
India and China on Tuesday announced a series of strategic defence cooperation initiatives, including renewal of joint Army exercises; ramping up of engagement between the two Navies and continuation of peace and tranquility along the border areas in the Himalayas.

The two rising Asian powers also announced that they would work together to maintain “peace and stability” in the Asia-Pacific. The US has also showed interest and announced a rebalance of its forces towards the region.

The announcements came following a 90-minute meeting between Defence Minister AK Antony and his Chinese counterpart General Liang Guanglie here. Antony termed the delegation-level talks as “very fruitful” and said he had accepted an invitation to visit China next year.

A Ministry of Defence statement announced: “It was agreed by the sides to conduct the next round of joint military exercises at the earliest.” Sources explained this could be possible in the first half of 2013.

Indian and Chinese forces had conducted two joint military exercises code named ‘Hand-in-Hand’ in Karnataka in December 2008 and in Kunming in China in 2007. The exercises came to an abrupt halt in 2009 after Beijing refused a visa to a serving Indian General on the premise that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir.

The two Defence Ministers “proclaimed their decision to work together to maintain peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region”. In September 2010, an incident involving INS Airavaat in the South China Sea had soured relations. Also, China had not taken too kindly to India’s growing interest in oil-blocks off the shore of Vietnam in the South China Sea.

Just last month, just-retired Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma had said India had no plans for active deployments in the South China Sea, indicating that India was not keen to needle China, which is suspicious of foreign warships trawling that sea.

New Delhi and Beijing also announced the first ever “joint maritime search and rescue exercise” by the navies. Since January this year, the two sides and Japan have been cooperating on the high seas to conduct escort patrols for merchant vessels transiting through the piracy-hit waters of the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.

On border security cooperation between troops, the countries agreed to “enhance and maintain peace and tranquility in border areas”.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |