BEIJING Dec 4 China and India will hold an
anti-terrorism exercise in a show of cooperation between the
two longtime rivals a week after armed militants attacked
Mumbai, state media said on Thursday.
The joint drill, named "Hand in Hand 2008", will be held
in Belgaum in south India from Saturday and continue until 14
Dec., a spokesman from China's Ministry of Defence told the
official Xinhua news agency on Thursday.
The spokesman Huang Xueping said the exercise involving one
infantry company from each country is based on an agreement
that Beijing and New Delhi struck in 2006.
China is a longtime friend of Pakistan, which India has
said was a base of the militants who attacked Mumbai, killing
171 people. And Huang stressed the anti-terror drill was not
aimed at Pakistan.
"There is no specific background to the drill and it is not
aimed at third parties," Huang said, according to Xinhua. "The
timing of the start of the exercise was set long ago."
Nonetheless, the exercise will underscore Beijing's desire
to be seen as working with India in the aftermath of the deadly
attack on Mumbai. Mutual distrust and a festering border
dispute have long divided the two Asian giants.
"The objective of this joint exercise is to enhance
understanding and trust between the two militaries," said
India and China held their first such joint exercise last
(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)