India-China Army exercise: In NE for the first time

Representative image

For the first time since the 1962 war, India opens up the doors to North East to Chinese troops who will be in Meghalaya next week for the next edition of the Hand-in-Hand exercise between the two armies.

The India-China joint training exercise Hand-in-Hand, 2019 with the underlying theme of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations under the United Nations mandate is scheduled to be held at Umroi, Meghalaya between December 7-20.

The Chinese contingent of 130 personnel would be from the Tibet Military command whereas the Indian troops would be from the Kumaon regiment. The exercise is planned at the company level with respective battalion headquarters controlling the 14-day long training.

 The bilateral army exercise between the two neighbours had a chequered history. It began in 2007 as one of the ice breakers on the military front between the two nations that fought a bitter war but ran into rough weather after two years when Beijing refused a visa to a senior Army officer for visiting the communist country.

 After few years of back-channel talks the exercise resumed in 2013 but came to a halt once again in 2017 following the Doklam crisis during which border guarding troops from the two countries were engaged in a face-to-face situation for 72 days on disputed territory near India-China-Bhutan trijunction.

 Several months later Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jin Ping decided to bury the ghosts of Doklam and continue with the mutually agreed confidence-building measures.

 In the last two years, they met many times beginning with the Wuhan Summit in April 2018. The last such bilateral talk happened at Mamallapuram in October 2019 where Modi and Xi agreed to build trusts between the two militaries.

 “The aim of the Army exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct of counter-terrorist operations in semi-urban terrain. It is focused on drills associated with terrorist handling and firing with each other's weapons, special heliborne operations and case studies of various operations carried out in the counter-terrorist environment,” said an Army spokesperson.

 Two tactical exercises are scheduled during the training; one on counter-terrorism scenario and the other on humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations. 

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