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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
04-December-2008 17:24 IST
Sino-Indian joint Army Training Exercise

EX HAND-IN-HAND 2008 IS ALL SET TO BEGIN
In continuation of the ongoing Army to Army cooperation, as part of the Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) which commenced between China and in India, in 2006, the 137 member strong Chinese Army contingent arrived in their service aircraft at the Southern Indian city of Pune this morning. Pune, besides being an industrial hub, is also a centre for higher learning. The city which has a concentration of a large number of institutions of higher learning, also boasts of many prestigious military institutions including the premier National Defence Academy (NDA), the cradle of learning and development of India's military leadership.

The current joint Army training and exercise marks the growing military cooperation between the two countries. Earlier, India and China had held the first joint naval exercise in November 2003 off Shanghai on China's Eastern seaboard. Subsequently, two ships of the Indian Navy also made port calls at Qingdao and participated in a joint exercise with the PLA Navy earlier in 2007.

After a brief formal reception by the Indian contingent commander at the Pune airfield, the Chinese army personnel and stores were transported by six IAF aircrafts to Belgaum, the venue of the Ex Hand-in-Hand 2008. This joint training exercise is the second in the series, the previous one having been conducted in Kunming, China in Oct 2007.

The Ex Hand-in-Hand 2008 is aimed at expanding and strengthening military-to-military ties between the two armed forces. During the course of joint training, the Chinese troops from the 1st Company of Infantry Battalion of Chengdu Military Area Command and the Indian Army troops from 8 Maratha Light Infantry Battalion, are expected to undergo joint tactical maneuvers and drills; interoperability training; and joint command post procedures, finally culminating in a joint counter-terrorist operational exercise with simulated enemy. The exercise is planned at mixed company group level with command and control elements from the respective battalions' headquarters. The training and maneuvers are to be supervised by a joint Directing Panel comprising of army officials of both the Armys. The helicopter assets of the Indian Air Force will also be incorporated for conduct of special heliborne maneuvers and assault operations.

A 13-member Chinese delegation led by a Senior Colonel (equivalent to a Brigadier of the India Army) was in India from Oct 21 to 23 to attend the initial planning conference and discuss details of the exercise. The detailed planning and coordination for conduct of the exercise were finalized during the visit of eight member Indian Army delegation led by a Brigadier to Chengdu from Nov 20 to Nov 23.

A high ranking PLA delegation as well as senior Indian Army officials are expected to visit the exercise venue as 'Observers' to view the proceedings of the joint training exercise.

VS/RPA