Nepal, China military drill to be held in September

Kathmandu: Nepal and China will hold their second joint military exercise in China’s Sichuan province from September 17, the Nepali Army announced on Saturday.

Nepali Army personnel and a squad of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will take part in the 10-day “Sagarmatha Friendship-2” exercise in Chengdu, the Kathmandu Post reported.

The first joint exercise was conducted at the Army’s Para Training School in Nepal’s Maharajgunj area in April 2017. The platoon level training will be led by captains from both sides.

The Nepali Army, which has long been holding joint military exercises with India and the US, has collaborated with the Chinese PLA, extending its military diplomacy.

The national defence force said 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 report said.

The joint exercise, according to the Nepalo Army, is aimed at fighting terrorism and might also focus on disaster management. Army Spokesman Brig. Gen. Gokul Bhandari said the exercise will be conducted on a rotational basis.

The participating platoon is likely to have around 15 personnel from each side.

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 PLA was in Nepal on a three-day visit. That was followed by a visit by former Chinese 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 Defence Minister Bal Krishna Khand and Chang during the visit.

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