india, china militaries should work hand in hand: chinese defence ministry

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The countries agreed to promote military relationship under the principle of maintaining peace

Beijing: The militaries of China and India should "work hand in hand" for the benefit of people of the two countries, the Chinese defence ministry said on Thursday, as the armies of the two countries are all set to resume joint military exercises next month after a gap of a year following the Doklam standoff.

The 7th India and China joint military exercises, 'Hand in Hand', focusing on counter-terrorism operations will be held in southwest China's Chengdu city from December 10 to December 23, Defence Ministry spokesman Col Ren Guoqiang told a media briefing.

Each side will send 100 troops to take part in the 14-day drill, he said.

The exercises will be held after a gap of one year as both the sides were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam in the Sikkim sector of the border in 2017.

"The two sides are preparing for the exercises now. The drill will promote understanding between the two militaries and improving their capabilities in fighting terrorism," Col Ren said.

"True to its name - 'Hand in Hand' - we believe China and Indian militaries should work hand in hand for the benefit of people in both the nations," he said, adding that the exercises will include live shooting and adoptive and basic training.

After the Doklam standoff, the militaries of the two neighbours made efforts to improve the strained relations following the first ever informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Chinese city of Wuhan in April this year.

The two sides participated in the 9th Defence dialogue held on November 13. Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Lt Gen Shao Yuanming, Deputy Chief of Joint Staff Department of Central Military Commission, participated in the talks and discussed bilateral relations, military ties, border control as well as regional and international issues.

The two sides agreed to follow the consensus reached by the top leaders of the two countries to promote military relationship under the principle of maintaining peace and tranquillity and enhancing the trust, friendship and cooperation, Col Ren said.

Besides resuming the defence dialogue, top leaders from both the countries also met on November 24 at the 21st India-China border talks held at Dujiangyan near Chengdu in southwestern Sichuan province.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi took part in the talks during which they called for intensifying efforts to find a solution to the vexed border dispute. Commenting on the talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media on November 26 that the two sides put forward a host of forward-looking and workable proposals and suggestions on advancing boundary talks, upholding peace and stability and promoting cooperation in the border areas during the meeting.

"It is fair to say that the two sides in general shared similar views and thinking in many areas," he said.

Col Ren also said China and Pakistan will hold 7th joint air force exercises in Bholari air force base in Pakistan from November 30 to December 23.

China will send its fighter jets and bombers and early warning AWACS planes to the exercise, he said, adding the exercise will help improve combat capability of both sides.

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