India is stepping up its efforts to promote military-to-military ties with China, despite Beijing’s continuous diplomatic and political spat against Delhi.
The two countries are now setting up for their annual ‘Hand-in-Hand’ (HiH) combat exercise at Aundh, Maharashtra, from November 15 to 27. This will be the sixth edition of the HiH exercise, which will see participation from over 170 troops from the Tibet Military Command of People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
India remains concerned about China’s major upgrade of military infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) coupled with PLA’s growing footprint in Azad Kashmir in support of Pakistan.
To make matters worse, China has also blocked India’s bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership as well as stalling Delhi’s move to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN.
China this week said that “no country should pursue its own political gains in the name of counterterrorism” in what India’s jingoist media said appeared to be a reference to New Delhi’s global campaign to get Pakistan declared a ‘pariah’.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said no country should have double standards on terrorism or use it for political gains. Though he didn’t name any country, the Times of India newspaper said Beijing “added insult to injury by accusing New Delhi”.
“There should be no double standards on terrorism nor should one pursue its own political gains in the name of counterterrorism,” Li said while replying to a question on criticism about China’s move to stall India’s bid for a UN ban on Maulana Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish-e-Muhammad militant group, which New Delhi blames for being behind the January attack on its air force base in Pathankot.
While the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan remains volatile with almost daily exchanges of fire, the LAC has not witnessed a single shot being fired for decades. However, troop incursions across the India-China border continue unabated with over 200 such incidents being recorded this year.
This article originally appeared on Times of India