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Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2019: Troops from India, China to conduct joint drill this week

FE Online
Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2019, india china ties, People Liberation Army, Indian Army, SIKHLI, HiH exercise, doklam

As part of its efforts to further expand its military to military cooperation, India and China will conduct a joint training exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand 2019’ (HiH) combat exercise later this week. This will be the eighth edition of the joint exercise.

The joint drill to take place in Umroi, Meghalaya from December 7-20 2019 will be at the company level and around 100-200 troops from both countries will be participating. The whole drill will focus on joint planning and conducting counter terrorist operations in semi-urban terrain.

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Company size contingents of the Indian Army's 11 SIKHLI and a regiment from Tibetan Military District of the People's Liberation Army, last December had participated in the exercise.

However, due to a 72 days long standoff between the two armies in Doklam, there was no joint exercise in 2017. The joint HiH exercise is one of the important confidence-building measures between the two largest armies in the world. The first HiH for the first time was held in at Kunming (China) in 2007, followed by the second edition at Belgaum in 2008. However, due to diplomatic spats over stapled visa and other matters, there was no drill in 2009-2010. This was later re-started in 2013 at Miaoergang in China, followed by the next one in Pune in 2016.

Close on the heels of a recently concluded successful informal summit between the leaders of both countries, such joint exercises help in further strengthening relations with the armies of both sides. Though the situation along the Line of Actual Control remains peaceful, the joint exercises help the troops to learn operating in different scenarios especially counter-terrorism.

Also, this year the number of transgressions has considerably reduced in comparison to the previous year, as well as there has been a drop in the number of face-offs between the two sides.