“New Delhi and Beijing will explore the possibility of holding a military exercise in China in 2011. It has been left to the military planners to decide which service will be involved,” said a defence ministry official here on Monday.
Resuming the exercise is possibly the most significant outcome of Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar’s last week’s confidence-building tour of China. He met his counterpart Gen Ma Xiaotian and Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie. Kumar was the first-ever Indian defence secretary to visit China.
With the long-term objective of overcoming the historical mistrust and rivalry, the Sino-Indian military exercises began in 2007. The first one was held at the Yunan province followed by the second exercise in Belgaum in 2008. Both times, it was company-level exercise involving 100 men from the two sides and focused on counter-terrorism.
There was no exercise in 2009 as several incidences of border violations came to the light. The two neighbours agreed to use the existing mechanism of border personnel meeting “more effectively to defuse any incident, which may have taken place along the line of actual control.”
The border personnel meeting was introduced in 2005 as a confidence-building measure in the wake of the then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s China tour. This time New Delhi and Beijing have also agreed to share information on anti-piracy measures in the Gulf of Aden where a “miscommunication” between the two navies led to an undesirable incident in the past.