Nepal and China will hold their first joint military drill towards the end of March and a delegation from the Nepal Army is set to leave for Beijing next week to discuss the scale and modalities of the exercise.
Nepal Army chief Gen Rajendra Chhetri confirmed the exercise while delivering a speech on the eve of Nepal Army day on Friday.
“Nepal Army is conducting various joint exercises with armies of friendly nations…for the sake of strengthening professional ties and deepening relations with various military organizations,” he said.
The Nepal Army recently conducted an exercise with the Sri Lankan Army for the first time and it will soon conduct a similar drill with the Bangladesh Army too.
Top military sources told Hindustan Times it was China which proposed the joint exercise, and the Nepal Army accepted the proposal because it had already conducted with many countries. Officials reasoned it would not be very significant to hold an exercise with China, the sources said.
The cool reaction from New Delhi led to concern within the Nepal Army but officials decided to go ahead with the plan, the sources added.
The drill will focus on counter-terrorism, jungle warfare, military diplomacy, disaster management and upgrading professional capabilities.
Nepal Army spokesperson Brig Gen Tara Bahadur Karki said a team from the training department will soon visit China to finalise the dates and modalities of the drill with China which will be held on a small scale.
A team from China’s People’s Liberation Army has visited Kathmandu to discuss the logistics for the drill. Sources in the Nepal Army said the drill will be held at the section level and last 10 days.
Nepal is also set to conduct a military drill with India, Surya Kiran, very soon. The exercise has been alternately held in India and Nepal ten times since it started in 2011.