While the Indian Army struggles to raise a Mountain Strike Corps, the Chinese have already decided to come down to Nepal to hold joint military exercises with the country – a first time between the two nations.
Announcing the decision to hold joint drills on Thursday, the Chinese PLA said that it will be focussed on counter terrorism and disaster management.
Confirming the same, the Nepal government said that the exercises named ‘Pratikar-I’ will be held at the northern region of the country probably on February 10, 2017.
It should be noted that the distance between Nepal’s border with India and its border with China is not more than 200 kilometres. This means that wherever the drill may happen, it will be close to India.
China has been increasingly helping Nepal with military aid. But a joint military exercise takes the strategic relationship to another level.
Nepal said that Kathmandu and Beijing have been talking about holding a military exercise for some time now.
“Nepal and China have been exchanging military delegations, visits and courses but such kind of drill is taking place for the first time,” Nepalese Army Spokesperson Brigadier Tara Bahadur Karki told Kathmandu Post.
The Nepalese Army says that the number of soldiers participating in the drill might not be more than a platoon size from either side. A platoon typically consists of around 50 soldiers.
Of course, New Delhi is rattled. The one good thing is that unlike former Nepalese prime minister Khadga Prasad Oli, the current PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda is not too pro-China. Yet the military exercise is a concern for India. New Delhi has, however, not objected.
It should also be noted that China-Nepal military exercise follows the September 14-27 India-US military exercise held at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand, just 100 kilometres away from China border.