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China, India begin first-ever anti-terror military training
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The Chinese and Indian armies kicked off their first joint anti-terrorism military training in southwest China on Friday morning.


The two armies dispatched about 100 ground troops for the exercise, code-named "Hand-in-Hand 2007," to Kunming, popularly known as the "City of Perpetual Spring."


Major Gen. Xiong Zuoming, commander of the Chinese troops, said at the commencement ceremony of the joint exercise that "both China and India are resolutely opposed to terrorism and actively committed to strengthening international cooperation in fighting terrorism.


"But we must be aware that factors endangering world peace and stability still exist. Terrorism, in particular, has become a public enemy to the international community," Xiong told the ceremony.


"We would like to join hands with India to make unremitting efforts to push for building a harmonious world featuring long-lasting peace and common prosperity," he added.


The joint exercise was intended to enhance mutual understanding and trust, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang on Thursday.


Qin also said that the training exercise also aimed to strengthen the two countries' exchanges in the field of anti-terrorism, deter the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and promote the development of the bilateral strategic partnership.


China and India, as two important neighbors and the world's two largest developing nations, enjoyed a consensus about safeguarding world peace and promoting development and cooperation, he noted.


The exercise will run until Dec. 27. During the exercise, Chinese and Indian soldiers will display their own weapons and equipment, jointly accomplish a series of training tasks including psychological training and tactics training, and conduct a drill that involves rescuing "hostages" from "terrorists."


The joint training is being carried out to implement the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding for Exchanges and Cooperation in the field of Defense signed between the defense ministries of China and India on May 29, 2006.


Before the exercise, military expert panels from China and India met in Kunming and Calcutta to discuss specific plans and reach a consensus.


"This is another step to deepen our cooperation and understanding. I am confident that both armies will benefit a lot," said Brig. Dadwal of the Indian army, also commander of the Indian troops sent for training.


"We hope Chinese and Indian armies, in the future, can carry out many more exchanges and cooperate in diversified forms and subjects," said Wu Xiaoyi, deputy director of the Asian Affairs Bureau under the Foreign Affairs Office of China's Defense Ministry.


"The only aim is to further boost the bilateral relationship that has already demonstrated good momentum of growth," he said.


(Xinhua News Agency December 21, 2007)

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