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Nepal-China military drill in Sept

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Jul 21, 2018-The second Nepal-China joint military exercise called ‘Sagarmatha Friendship-2’ will be held in China’s Sichuan Province starting September 17. Nepal Army personnel and a squad of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take part in the 10-day exercise in Chengdu.

The first joint exercise was conducted at the Army’s Para Training School in Maharajgunj in April last year. The NA, which has long been holding joint military exercises with India and the United States, has collaborated with the Chinese PLA, extending military diplomacy.

The platoon level training will be led by captains from both sides. The national defence force says the drill is part of its regular bilateral and multilateral military exercises aimed at sharing experiences, skills and professional knowledge, a practice common with nations that have diplomatic ties with Nepal. The joint exercise, according to the NA, is aimed at fighting terrorism. The drill might also focus on disaster management. Army Spokesman Brig Gen Gokul Bhandari said the exercise will be conducted on a rotational basis.

Although the number of participants will remain the same as last year, he said, it might increase in the days to come. The participating platoon is likely to have around 15 personnel from each side. Though preparations were for holding exercise at the company level with over 100 personnel in attendance, it was later downsized citing the geological reason.

Nepal has been conducting battalion level exercises called Surya Kiran with the Indian Army for the last 13 years engaging some 300 personnel from both sides. The defence forces from Nepal and China have increased their engagement of late. On February 19, Maj Gen Zhao Jinsong of the western command of the People’s Liberation Army was in Nepal on a three-day visit. That was followed by a visit by Defence Minister and State Councillor Chang Wanquan in the third week of March. The decision to hold the first ever joint military exercise was taken by then minister for defence Bal Krishna Khand and Chang during the visit.

Published: 21-07-2018 08:02

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