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No Sino-Indian army exercise this year

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India and China will hold joint military exercises next year and no such drill is planned for this year, government said.

Reacting to media reports that the Sino-Indian joint army exercise had been "called off", spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Vishnu Prakash said the two countries had mutually decided to have the exercise next year.

"It was mutually decided during the last exercise that the next joint military exercise would be held in 2010.Therefore, no joint military exercise was planned in 2009," Prakash said in a statement here on Thursday.

He said India and China had conducted joint military exercises in 2007 and 2008.

In a path breaking move, the two armies held the first ever exercise, named 'Hand-in-Hand' in December 2007 in Kunming province of China, when a 100-strong Indian Army delegation took part in a counter-terrorism exercise.

This was followed up with the second exercise last year when India hosted the Chinese military personnel at Belgaum in Karnataka for a similar counter-terrorism exercise.

China had already informed India that this year it would be busy with its 60th National Day celebrations scheduled for October one and hence would not be able to host the Indian Army personnel for the exercise this year.

The two sides, then, decided to hold the exercise in China in 2010.

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