India-China navies to hold joint training: Chinese military

India-China navies to hold joint training: Chinese military

China and India will organise a joint training for their navies, besides holding the fourth edition of joint military exercise this year, a top Chinese defence official said here today.

China and India have agreed to hold a joint army training exercise named "Hand-in-Hand 2014," and to organise joint navy training in due time, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said commenting for the first time on the just concluded the sixth Defence Dialogue in New Delhi.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between the two countries within their Defence and Security Consultation programme in New Delhi on February 24, Yang was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

The mention of training of the two navies surprised Indian officials here who said while the issue was discussed during the two-day meeting between Defence Secretary R K Mathur and Deputy Chief of People's Liberation Army Wang Guanzhong, they were not aware of any understanding in this regard.

With improving relations, the two countries are exploring the possibility of having joint exercises between the air forces and the navies, besides the armies which have held three exercises so far and agreed to hold the fourth one in India this year.

"The armies of China and India have conducted three joint training exercises in recent years, which have helped the two sides enhance mutual understanding and trust, and learn from each other on military building," Yang said.

He said the meeting in New Delhi also saw discussion of the security situation in South Asia, the China-India relationship and bilateral military ties and cooperation.

"The two armed forces agreed to strengthen their high- level strategic communication, continue defence cooperation, and push forward military ties to a new high," he said.

They also agreed to implement the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed by the two governments during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China in 2013, and maintain peace and stability along border areas through joint efforts, Yang said.
Yang also defended the first Chinese naval exercises Indian Ocean near Lombok Strait saying that they were not directed against any country.
The three-ship flotilla consists of amphibious landing craft two destroyers conducted 10 exercises including anti-pirate, joint search and rescue as well as damage control drills in Indian Ocean from January 29.

They later held the same drills in Western Pacific. The exercises present no threat to the region, Yang said. "This is a regular arrangement included in the annual training programme. It is not targeting any particular country or enemy," he said.

"China has the right of free passage in the international waters. We have always observed international law and also take into consideration security concerns of neighbouring countries. Regarding the training exercises we have informed relevant parties," Yang said.

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