Joint naval exercise planned
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Joint naval exercise planned

A three-day search and rescue exercise, with frontline warships from both navies, is in the offing.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2003 21:44 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

India and China are planning to hold joint naval exercises later this year, further strengthening their relations following high-level political visits, India's Vice Chief of Naval Staff John Desilva said on Friday.

The announcement came as Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee ended his six-day visit to China, the first by an Indian premier in a decade.

A three-day search and rescue exercise, including frontline warships from both countries, was in the offing, Desilva said in New Delhi. More exercises are also being mulled over.

He said the date and venue had not yet been fixed.

Indian and Chinese warships have been making calls at ports in each other's countries as relations have warmed, but it will be the first joint operation in recent times.

India had given a proposal to hold anti-piracy exercises in the Malacca Straits, similar to those conducted with Indonesian and US warships in the region.

But Chinese officials said their anti-piracy operations were carried out byborder guard vessels, and the two countries have decided to hold search and rescue exercises instead, Desilva said.

The Indian and Chinese armies have recently begun interacting by sending officers to each other's military academies.

Vajpayee's China visit this week and Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji's visit to India in January 2002 have boosted relations between the two countries, which fought a brief but bloody war in 1962.

First Published: Nov 06, 2003 21:44 IST