China willing to expand military ties with India: PLA general

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Kunming
  • Updated: Oct 22, 2015 17:43 IST
Indian and Chinese troops during the ‘Hand in Hand’ exercise in Kunming, China, on Wednesday. (PTI)

The Indian and Chinese armies have maintained peace along their disputed border and Beijing is willing to expand militaries ties with New Delhi to enhance mutual trust between the two forces, a Chinese general said on Thursday.

Cooperation between the two armies will strengthen international counter-terrorism operations, Major General Zhang Bing, deputy chief of staff of the Chengdu military region, said.

Chinese academics told Hindustan Times on Wednesday that a lack of mutual trust was keeping military ties at a low between the two countries.

Bing, speaking at the end of the 10-day joint counter-terrorism exercise ‘Hand in Hand’, said an important achievement of the drill was discussions on jointly conducting disaster relief.

Echoing Zhang, India’s Lieutenant General AL Chavan, head of military training, said “if required”, the two militaries could “jointly assist each other” to carry out relief operations in populated areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), effectively the Sino-India border, which are disaster-prone.

“China is willing to expand the scope of exchange and cooperation between our two armies. In that way, we can enhance our mutual trust and friendship,” Zhang said at the PLA Infantry Battalion of the 14 Group Army’s training academy where the drill was held.

From India, a battalion from the decorated Naga regiment took part.

Zhang said the exercise was important because both the armies “have their unique ways of conducting training and researches on counter-terrorism. So, by holding joint training is very beneficial for our counter-terrorism capabilities”.

He added: “Our two armies have been effectively maintaining peace and tranquility along China-India border. We have also held several border meetings to keep that peace and stability.”

The generals maintained that exercises will enhance confidence among the personnel.

“My interaction with the troops tells me they are fairly confident of operating together jointly. So the willingness is always there; whether to take it ahead in terms of expanding the depends at the political-level... between the two governments (about) how to take it ahead,” Chavan said.

The final drill on Thursday was a simulated attack on “international terrorists” hiding in a village near the India-China border by combined groups of Indian and Chinese soldiers.

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