Nepal, China to hold first ever joint military drill from Sunday

Anil Giri, KATHMANDU, (IANS): Nepal and China will hold their first ever joint military exercise on April 16-25 focused on counter-terrorism and distaster response, Nepal Army announced on Thursday.

In a recent visit to Nepal, Chinese defence minister Chang Wanquan had announced 300 million Yuan military aid to Nepal Army for its UN peacekeepers, mainly logistics.

“In a bid to give continuity of joint military training and exercises with neighbouring countries and friendly nations; and in the context of terrorism that is posing serious threat to the global peace and its possible challenges to the global security, we are holding a first ever joint military exercise with China under the banner of ‘Sagarmatha Friendhsip-2017,” said a statement from the army.

Sagarmatha is the Nepali name of Mt Everest that borders Nepal and China.

The exercise has raised eyebrows in New Delhi, with the strategic circle in the Indian capital questioning its intent.

“It is well-known that under the ambit of Nepal’s foreign and security policies, Nepal Army has been regularly conducting bilateral and multilateral joint military exercise, training and seminars with various nations in order to boost the capability of the army personals and has been sharing experiences , skills and professional knowledge.

“In this context, common interests like disaster management and others, Nepal Army have been conducting joint military exercises, seminars and training with various nations that Nepal has diplomatic ties,” the army statement said.

Such kind of multilateral and bilateral training slots and exercises will provide opportunities to both armies to exchange their professional skills, will boost their capability and further strength the diplomatic and military ties, the army said.

Nepal has been holding such joint military exercise with India, US and recently held a multilateral joint military exercise with various nations involved in UN peace keeping operations.

(Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 27.Photo: AFP)

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