CHINA, PAK BEGIN ANTI-TERRORISM EXERCISES
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Beijing/Islamabad July 1: Chinese and Pakistani troops today began a two-week long anti-terrorism exercises in China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, ahead of a key visit by President Asif Ali Zardari next week.
The week-long drill, code-named “Friendship-2010,” would be the third of its kind between the two close allies.
Each side has sent special troops to take part in the province which has a large concentration of Muslim population.
More than 1,000 officers and men of a troop unit under the Lanzhou Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) converged at the place of exercises, reports here said.
A commando contingent of the Pakistan Army special force is participating in exercises between the two countries.
China’s Ministry of National Defence has said the drill is aimed at deepening the relationship between the two armies, promoting pragmatic exchanges and enhancing their capabilities in fighting terrorism and safeguarding regional peace and stability.
The exercises have been designed to benefit from the professional skills based on the mutual experiences of the two nations for anti-terrorism efforts.
China has been pressing Islamabad to crack down on Uygur Muslim separatists in its Xinjiang region bordering Pakistan.
The Pakistani military said its “unprecedented success in counter-terrorism operations has contributed to an environment in which the Pakistan Army and the People’s Liberation Army (of China) have sought to hold a joint exercise to benefit from each others’ experiences.”
“The aim of the exercise is to practice counter-terrorism mechanisms (and) drills in mountains and developing inter-personal rapport between participants of both sides,” the Pakistani military said in a statement in Islamabad.
The exercise has also been designed to benefit from the professional skills of special forces at the “sub unit level.”
Besides the special forces from both countries, the Chinese Air Force will participate in the manoeuvres.
Senior military leadership from both the countries will also attend the exercises, which comes ahead of the visit of President Zardari from July 6 to 11. It is not known yet whether he would be attending the military exercises.
China and Pakistan held their first-ever joint anti-terrorism exercise, “Friendship-2004,” in Xinjiang’s Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County bordering Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. About 200 border soldiers from both sides participated.
The second joint anti-terror military drill,”Friendship-2006,” was carried out in the hills of northern Pakistan’s Abbottabad. More than 400 soldiers from both armies took part.
President Zardari, who will hold talks with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, aims to deepen its bilateral ties with its “all-weather friend”
China has defended its plan to deepen nuclear cooperation with Pakistan as “peaceful” after the US sought clarification from Beijing about its plan to build two atomic reactors for Islamabad.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST
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PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Beijing/Islamabad July 1: Chinese and Pakistani troops today began a two-week long anti-terrorism exercises in China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, ahead of a key visit by President Asif Ali Zardari More