India continues to build military ties with China. The two Asian giants differ on the NSG issue but they are going to join tactical military exercise in Pune, Maharashtra.
India and China, after holding their first-ever exercises in eastern Ladakh and Sikkim along the disputed 4,057-km Line of Actual Control+ (LAC) earlier this year, are now looking forward for their annual 'Hand-in-Hand' (HiH) combat exercise from November 15 to 27.
The sixth edition of the HiH exercise, which has emerged as a confidence-building measure between the world's largest and second-largest standing armies, will see participation from over 170 troops from the recently-upgraded Tibet Military Command of People's Liberation Army.
Armed with weaponry ranging from 12.7mm anti-material rifles and flame-throwers to "corner-shooting systems" and laser-blinding devices, the PLA troops will practice counter-terrorism drills with Maratha Light Infantry soldiers equipped with their own specialised weapons.
The exercise will also focus on trans-national terrorism, with China grappling with the expanding influence of Islamic State in Xinjiang, as India deals with cross-border militancy actively fuelled by Pakistan.
Apart from the stark military asymmetry, India remains worried about China's major upgrade of military infrastructure all along the LAC as well as the PLA's expanding footprint in POK. Earlier China has also blocked India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
But brushing aside such irritants, India is stepping up its defence ties with China with more military exercises, top-level visits, hotlines and other CBMs, while also boosting its military deterrence along the LoC.