New Delhi: Putting behind the 2017 border standoff on Doklam skirmishes, the Modi government has cleared a bilateral military exercise of a two-week joint drill at Kunming in southeast China from December 10. The Indian Army will be represented by the 11th battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry.
The exercise was originally planned in October last year, but China backed out following the 73-day standoff on Doklam. China was to be the host as per the arrangement to conduct it in each country by rotation. India had hosted it in 2016. So far, there have been six editions of the exercise, which remained suspended for five years from 2010 to 2014 after China refused visa to then Northern army commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal, claiming his forces were operating in the “disputed” territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The exercise were back in October 2016 when the Chinese sent their forces for the joint drill in eastern Ladak of Jammu and Kashmir. Talks to resume the exercise began in March this year when Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had met at an informal summit in Wuhan and issued “strategic guidance” to their respective militaries to “build trust and have a mechanism to prevent incidents in border regions.”
There was tension again in June, almost after a truce on Doklam a year ago, the People’s Liberation Army troops conducted a 3-day tactical exercise close to the Doklam confrontation point at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan borders. The only difference was that India was informed in advance about the drill from June 6 to 8 near Chumbi valley, a Chinese territory located between Sikkim and Bhutan.