India, China hold first joint exercise in Kashmir's Ladakh region

The day-long exercise took place in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Leh, Jammu and Kashmir Oct 19, 2016, 10.53 PM (IST)

India and China on Wednesday carried out their first joint army exercise in the eastern Ladakh region of India's Jammu and Kashmir, news agency PTI reported.

The day-long drill, which focused on humanitarian aid and disaster relief, took place on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), that divides the border between India and China.

It comes amid a hectic diplomatic manoeuvring between the two countries over a range of issues including China blocking India's entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well as its efforts to get Masood Azhar designated a terrorist by the UN.

The Indian army called the exercise was a "great success" and said it had increased the level of trust and cooperation between the border forces on either side of the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. It also said that the exercise complimented the Hand in Hand joint exercises which the two countries have been conducting since 2007.

A mock situation of an earthquake occurring at an Indian village was created with joint teams engaging in rescue operations, evacuation and medical assistance, the Indian Army stated. India and China have been involved in a border dispute for decades, with India often accusing Chinese troops of intruding into its territory.

The first exercise in the series was held in February this year in Chushul-Moldo area on the Chinese side of the LAC.

This year's edition of 'Hand in Hand' will be held at Aundh, near Pune in Maharashtra, from November 15 to 27.

(WION with inputs from PTI)