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B'desh, India to hold joint military exercise

Bangladesh's army said it was planning to hold its first joint military exercise with Indian troops, in the troubled northeastern Indian state of Assam next month.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2009 11:44 IST

Bangladesh's army on Thursday said it was planning to hold its first joint military exercise with Indian troops, in the troubled northeastern Indian state of Assam next month.

An armed forces spokesman told AFP the small-scale exercise involving 20 para-commandos from each country would be held at Jorhat in insurgency-hit Assam from February 22-March 7.

The move comes just weeks after Sheikh Hasina's Awami League party won a landslide victory in Bangladesh's general elections.

The Awami League, which led the country to independence from Pakistan after a blood war of liberation in 1971, is seen as close to India. Indian forces fought with Bangladeshi troops against Pakistani soldiers during the war.

But New Delhi's relations with Dhaka soured after 1975, when Awami League leader and the father of the current premier Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed in a military coup.

In recent years the ties have often been strained by border skirmishes and New Delhi's accusations that Bangladesh-based Islamic groups were behind a number of blasts across India.