China, Pak begin anti-terrorism exercises

Last Updated: Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 23:44

Beijing/Islamabad: Chinese and Pakistani
troops on Thursday 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 execises.

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.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 23:44

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