China reacts sharply to India-US military drills near LAC, says it 'violates' Sino-India agreements

China's response came amid the ongoing 18th edition of the Indo-US joint training exercise "YUDH ABHYAS 22". 

China reacts sharply to India-US military drills near LAC, says it 'violates' Sino-India agreements

New Delhi: China on Wednesday (November 30, 2022) reacted sharply to the joint Indo-US military exercises being held near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and said that it "violates the spirit" of the two border agreements signed between New Delhi and Beijing. China's response came amid the ongoing 18th edition of Indo-US joint training exercise "YUDH ABHYAS 22", which is being conducted in Uttarakhand with the "aim of exchanging best practices, Tactics, Techniques and Procedures" between the two armies. 

"The joint military exercise held by India and the US near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) violated the spirit of relevant agreements signed by China and India in 1993 and 1996, and does not help build bilateral trust," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing.

"China has expressed concerns to the Indian side over the military exercise," he added.

Earlier, India had also said that the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) attempts to move a large number of troops to the disputed areas in the LAC in eastern Ladakh in May 2020 violated the bilateral agreements which state that the boundary question is resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations.

The relations between India and China have been strained since their armies clashed in the Galwan Valley in June 2020. New Delhi has consistently maintained that peace and tranquility along the LAC are important to the overall development of bilateral relations with Beijing.

It is noteworthy that the Exercise "Yudh Abhyas" is conducted annually between India and US. The previous edition of the exercise was conducted at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska in the US in October 2021.

In this edition, the US Army soldiers of the 2nd Brigade of the 11th Airborne Division and Indian Army soldiers from the ASSAM Regiment are participating in the exercise. 

The training schedule focuses on the employment of an integrated battle group under Chapter VII of the UN Mandate. The schedule also includes all operations related to peace keeping and peace enforcement. 

According to India's Ministry of Defence, during the two-week exercise which commenced on November 19, the troops from both nations will work together to achieve common objectives. 

"The joint exercise will also focus on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Troops from both nations will practice launching of swift & coordinated relief efforts in the wake of any natural calamity," the Indian ministry had said earlier this month.

"In order to derive full benefit from the professional skills and experiences of both the armies, a Command Post Exercise and Expert Academic Discussions (EAD) on carefully selected topics will be carried out," an official statement read on November 15.

The scope of the Field Training Exercise includes the validation of integrated battle groups, force multipliers, establishment and functioning of surveillance grids, validation of operational logistics, mountain warfare skills, casualty evacuation, and combat medical aid in adverse terrain and climatic conditions. The exercise will involve exchanges and practices on a wide spectrum of combat skills including combat engineering, employment of UAS/Counter UAS techniques, and information operations, the statement added.

"The exercise will facilitate both Armies to share their wide experiences, skills and enhance their techniques through information exchange," it said.