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Nepal-China joint military drill begins

The People’s Liberation Army’s squad is taking part in ‘Sagarmatha Friendship-2017’, which will focus on counter-terrorism and disaster response. The 10-day exercise will conclude on April 25.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2017 20:45 IST
Anil Giri
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 27.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 27.(AFP File)

The first ever Nepal-China  joint military drill began on Sunday at Nepal Army’s Para Training School Maharajgunj in Kathmandu.

The People’s Liberation Army’s squad is taking part in ‘Sagarmatha Friendship-2017’, which will focus on counter-terrorism and disaster response. The 10-day exercise will conclude on April 25.

Gen Binod Kumar Shrestha, Nepal Army’s director general of military operations, inaugurated the joint exercise.

Though Nepal and China were planning a large-scale military exercise, the strong opposition from India, given its special diplomatic and military ties with Nepal, forced Kathmandu to limit the scope of the exercise, sources said. “We hope such joint military exercise would help Nepal and Chinese Armies to boost their professional capabilities,” the Nepal Army said.

While highlighting the historic ties between Nepal and Chinese armies, Colonel  Yang Shumeng who is leading the PLA in the exercise, said such exercises would help understanding on counter-terrorism and strengthen military-to-military relations.

The joint training with China marks Nepali Army’s extension of military diplomacy. It has in the past conducted similar drills with Indian and US armies.

The army said the drill is a step towards preparing for possible terror threats.

The national defence forces from the two countries has increased their engagement of late. On February 19, Major General Zhao Jinsong of the western command of the PLA was in Nepal on a three-day visit. That was followed by a visit by defence minister Chang Wanquan in the third week of March. Chang had announced 300 million Yuan (Rs4.5 billion) of military aid to the Nepal Army.