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Chinese, Indian troops start anti-terror drill
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An Indian soldier checks the weapon of his Chinese counterpart during a joint exercise in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, December 21.

An Indian soldier paints camouflage colors on his comrade's nose.

Chinese soldiers perform the traditional Chinese martial arts.

"Hand-in-Hand, 2007", the first-ever anti-terror program held between the two countries, began on Friday with Chinese soldiers demonstrating their martial arts skills.

They also performed the self-defense technique of "hard qigong" (a traditional breathing exercise) to loud cheers from their Indian counterparts.

"It's really impressive," JS Budhwar, an Indian officer, said, referring to the technique, in which a stack of bricks is put on a soldier's head and then smashed to pieces with a sledgehammer.

"In our special forces, we conduct similar physical exercises, but not to this level. It's amazing," Budhwar said.

In return, Indian soldiers demonstrated yoga and performed Malkhamb, an ancient form of Indian gymnastics, which received equally warm support from the Chinese soldiers.

"These kind of exchanges help us get to know each other better and make friends," Gong Kai, a Chinese military officer, said.

"I think we can learn a lot from each other over the coming days," Gong, who once served in China's UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, said.

The joint training comes at a time of growing exchanges between the two militaries.

In recent years, China and India have sent officers to attend courses at each other's military academies and invited each other's military observers to watch their respective exercises and maneuvers.

The two countries held their first-ever joint naval exercise in the East China Sea in November 2003.

"This is another step toward deepening the understanding and cooperation between the two armies," Brigadier DS Dadwal, the directing chief of the Indian contingent, said at Friday's opening ceremony.

"We hope to have more exchanges and cooperation with China in the future and benefit from this drill," he said.

The drill, which ends on Tuesday, is divided into three phases.

In the first phase, the two sides will display their weaponry and demonstrate their combat skills.

In the second, soldiers from both sides will be divided into mixed formations and drill together.

Finally, the two contingents, each comprising 103 servicemen, will participate in a simulated anti-terror drill to demonstrate what they have learned.

"The drill is an opportunity for both sides to learn from each other the best ways to fight terrorism," Major-General Xiong Zuoming said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2007)

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