India, China to have Joint Military Exercise in Meghalaya

The annual Joint Military Exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ between India and China will be held at Umroi, near Shillong, Meghalaya in December 2019. The two-week long company-level exercise will take place in 2nd half of December while the planning conference to finalise modalities for joint exercise will be held in August 2019.

Key Highlights

The 2019 Hand-in-Hand exercise will be 8th edition of India and China military drill that was resumed in 2018 following a freeze over Doklam stand-off.

The 2018 exercise, which was 7th edition, was held in Chengdu in December 2018.

Company Level: In Umroi, Meghalaya the India and China military exercise will be at company level, it means that around 100-120 infantry troops from both sides will be participating.

Focus Area: Both forces will focus on counter-terror operations, establishment of joint command post, joint combat drill, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Background

Joint Military Exercise Hand-in-Hand was 1st started in 2007 in Kunming (in China) but was halted after Chinese troops came to Belgaum in Karnataka for 2nd edition of exercise. The exercised was resumed only 5 years later in 2013 when India and China suspended their military ties because of a staple visa row.

In 2016 after 6th edition of exercise in Pune it again got derailed because of 73-day stand-off between two military forces in Sikkim’s Doklam area where troops from both sides (People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and Indian Soldiers) came face to face.

This situation eased in 2018 and troops from both sides interacted once again in China.

Despite recent incident in Ladakh’s Demchok region where a Chinese group objected to locals celebrating birthday of Dalai Lama’s, the 2019 drill is still on track. This situation was diffused in flag meeting as is the practice.

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