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India-China joint military training concludes

world Updated: Dec 25, 2007 13:30 IST
Xinhua

The Indian and Chinese armies concluded their first-ever joint anti-terrorism military training with a three-hour military drill in this southwestern Chinese city on Tuesday morning.

The joint military training raised the combat ability of both armies to fight against terrorism and enhanced mutual understanding and trust between them, said Lieutenant General Ma Xiaotian, head of the Chinese military observer delegation, at a ceremony to mark the conclusion of the five-day event.

The training also promoted the development of bilateral strategic cooperative partnership, said Ma, who is also deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

"It's the real reflection of the confidence and power of China and India and their armies to fight against terrorism," said Ma.

"This is a momentous occasion for us," said Lieutenant General Susheel Gupta, head of the Indian military observer delegation.

"This first ever joint training shows our resolve to fight terrorism and ensure peace for the entire world," said General Gupta, who is also deputy chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

The military drill on Tuesday, the third and final stage of the five-day exercise, began at 7:30 am local time at a hilly terrain near Kunming, capital city of Yunnan province, with the participation of 206 ground troops from the two armies.

It was designed to tackle a situation as if 56 "terrorists" from "a certain international terrorist organisation" have entered the border area of China and India. The terrorists "established" a training base and "intended" to attack a trading port on the border between the two countries.

The finale manoeuvre of the five-day operation involved establishing a joint command post, joint battle decision-making, implementation of anti-terrorism action before wiping out the group of "terrorists" and rescuing "hostages".

During the drill, the Chinese and Indian troops broke into the "training camp of the terrorists" at 9:25 am and began to rescue "hostages" at 10:25 am.

About 10 minutes later, the drill ended with "terrorists" subdued and "hostages" rescued and brought to a safe place.

Helicopters, tanks, trench mortars and grenade launchers were employed in the drill, according to sources with the drill headquarters.

The drill lasted over three hours and ended 25 minutes ahead of the schedule.

General Gupta declared the conclusion of the Sino-Indian joint anti-terrorism military training code-named "Hand-in-Hand 2007" at 11:27 a.m.

The two lieutenant generals inspected the troops who took part in the joint training and issued certificates and medals to each other's soldiers at the closing ceremony.

The anti-terrorism military training, which began Friday morning, was carried out to implement the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for exchanges and cooperation in the field of defence signed between the defence ministries of India and China May 29, 2006.

The joint training was intended to enhance mutual understanding and trust, said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang Thursday.

Qin also said the training also aimed to strengthen the two countries' exchanges in the field of anti-terrorism, deter the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and promote the development of the bilateral strategic partnership.

"This joint military training does not aim at any third party," said Zhou Xiaoyi, an official with the foreign affairs office under the Chinese ministry of national defence.

Before Tuesday's finale drill, Chinese and Indian soldiers displayed their respective weapons and equipment, jointly accomplished a series of training tasks, including psychological training and tactics trainings.