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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Indian warship to take part in drill with China, Pak

Sutirtho Patranobis , Hindustan Times  Beijing, April 11, 2014
First Published: 21:29 IST(11/4/2014) | Last Updated: 01:16 IST(12/4/2014)

India's indigenously built stealth frigate INS Shivalik will exercise on Chinese waters alongside ships from Pakistan, China and a number of other countries later this month to celebrate the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's 65th founding day.

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The coming exercise will be held in Qingdao, a Chinese port city, on April 23 and 24.

It is rare for the PLA, the world's largest standing army, and the Indian armed forces to take part in joint exercises.

In November last year, the two armies carried out a joint anti-terrorism exercise in southwest China only for the third time in their history.

Formal exercises and interactions between the two navies, among the fastest growing in the region, take place seldom though the two are known to cooperate in anti-piracy operations.

In fact, in June 2012, Shivalik was the flagship vessel that had led four Indian navy warships to the Shanghai port. It was for the first time that four Indian warships had made a port call in a Chinese city.

A PLA navy warship had then escorted the Shivalik as it had made its way across international waters of the South China sea from Philippines to South Korea, surprising many on the Indian ship.

The Chinese ship had sailed with the Indian one for more than half-a-day.

In September 2011, Indian navy's Airavat was warned by an unidentified Chinese warship that it was entering Chinese waters as the Indian vessel was making its way from one Vietnamese port to the other.

The upcoming visit of Shivalik is being seen as the two countries attempting to engage their militaries in confidence building measures.

"The year 2014 has been declared as the 'Year of Friendly Exchanges' between India and China. The visit by INS Shivalik highlights the friendly exchanges and bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries," a statement from the Indian embassy in Beijing said.

China had proposed a maritime dialogue between the two navies in February this year during the visit of the State Councillor Yang Jiechi to New Delhi.

Reports said the proposed dialogue would be held between rear admiral-rank officers, and cover the aspect of humanitarian assistance and disaster response among other issues.


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