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India refuted China’s objections to India-U.S. military exercises near the Sino-Indian border

Indian and U.S. Army soldiers carry their respective national flags and run up a hill during a joint India-U.S. exercise on November 30, 2022. (AP Photo)
Indian and U.S. Army soldiers carry their respective national flags and run up a hill during a joint India-U.S. exercise on November 30, 2022. (AP Photo)

NEW DELHI —India has dismissed Beijing’s objection to U.S.-India military exercises near India’s disputed border with China.

Joint exercises between Indian and U.S. forces began in mid-November and are scheduled to conclude on Friday (2 December). As part of the two sides’ annual exercises, this year’s drills will be held in the Himalayas in the town of Orly in Uttarakhand, about 100 kilometers from the border region, known as The Line of Actual Control.

China said on Wednesday (Nov. 30) that the joint exercises “violated the spirit of the 1993 and 1996 agreements signed by China and India.” “It is not conducive to trust between China and India. The Chinese side has expressed its concern to the Indian side on this,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular news conference in Beijing.

In response to comments from China on Thursday (Dec. 1), Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said that “India conducts exercises with any country of its choosing, and on this issue, it will not give any third country veto power.” “

According to Bach, these exercises have nothing to do with the agreements mentioned by China.” But since these issues have been raised, China needs to reflect and think about its own violations of these agreements,” Bach said.

Tensions between India and China have escalated since a bloody border clash in the Ladakh region in 2020 that killed 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers. As a result, both sides continue to deploy tens of thousands of troops along the disputed border, backed by artillery, tanks, and fighter jets, and rapidly build infrastructure in the Himalayas.

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After several rounds of talks between the military commanders of the two countries, soldiers withdrew from some of the so-called “friction points” along the border that had been close to each other’s positions but continued their large-scale deployments at other locations of strategic importance to both sides.

The U.S. Defense Department said in a report this week that China “warned” U.S. officials not to interfere in Sino-Indian relations after border conflicts.

“China seeks to prevent border tensions from leading India to work more closely with the United States,” the U.S. Department of Defense reported to Congress on China’s Military and Security Posture.

This year’s exercise in Orly is the 18th joint exercise, known as Yudh Abhyas, or “War Practice,” which alternates between the United States and India to exchange best practices, tactics, and techniques. Last year’s exercise was held in Alaska, USA.

Ahead of the exercise, India’s Ministry of Defence said it would focus on surveillance, mountain warfare skills, casualty evacuation, and combat medical assistance in adverse terrain and climatic conditions.

The exercises are part of deepening military cooperation between New Delhi and Washington, stemming from shared concerns about Beijing’s increasingly aggressive posture. India is a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue Mechanism (QUAD), a U.S.-Australia-Japan group designed to counter Beijing’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyan Jaishankar has reiterated in several forums that relations between New Delhi and Beijing cannot be normal without peace in the border region.

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