(TibetanReview.net, Aug24, 2013) – Despite being harried by frequent border incursions, including a rather prolonged one in April this year, India is to resume its “Hand-in-Hand” (HiH) counter-terrorism military exercise with China in November after a gap of nearly five years.
The third HiH exercise will be held in China’s Chengdu Military Area Command, which controls Tibet and almost the entire disputed LAC (Line of Actual Control) from Nov 4 to 14, reported timesofindia.indiatimes.com Aug 23.
The two countries held their first two HiH exercises at Kunming (China) in 2007 and Belgaum (India) in 2008. However, the exercises were frozen after diplomatic spats over visa and other issues provoked by China in 2009-2010.
The report noted that though largely symbolic with just around 100 to 150 soldiers from each side undertaking the counter-terror drills, the exercise is seen as a major confidence-building measure between the world’s largest and second-largest armies ranged against each other along the 4,057km LAC.
The report added that the decision to hold the third round of the HiH exercise was firmed up during the visit of India’s Defence Minister Mr AK Antony, accompanied by a high-level delegation, to China in early July this year. There have been several reported border intrusions by China after the visit. The report noted that India had recorded well over 600 “transgressions” by PLA troops across the LAC in the last three years.