Jolt for Narendra Modi’s SAARC Initiatives, China-Nepal to Hold Joint Military Drill

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By Dayafter Bureau, Agencies

Giving jolt to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives to enhance bonhomie amnong the SAARC countries with India, Nepal and China will be holding their first-ever joint military exercise from April 16 to 25, the Nepal Army informed on Thursday.

While the Chinese military aid to Nepal has significantly boosted in recent years, Kathmandu and Beijing would be holding a joint military exercise in Nepal for the first time.

In his visit to Nepal last month, Chinese Defence Minister and State Councillor Chang Wanquan had announced military aid worth 300 million Yuan to Nepal Army for its UN peacekeepers, mainly logistics.

The 10-day-long military exercise would be focused on disaster response and counter-terrorism.

“In a bid to give continuity of such joint military training and exercises with the neighbouring countries and friendly nations and in the context of terrorism that is posing serious threat to the global peace also its possible challenges to the global security, we are holding first ever joint military exercise with China under the banner of ‘Sagatrmatha Friendship-2017’,” said the army in its statement.

Sagarmatha is the Nepali name of Mt. Everest. The upcoming joint military drill has, however, raised eyebrows in New Delhi, with strategic circles in the Indian capital questioning the intent of such an exercise.

“Nepal Army has been conducting joint military exercises, seminars and training with various nations with whom Nepal has diplomatic ties,” the army said.

The statement further read that such kind of multilateral and bilateral training slots and exercises would provide opportunities to exchange professional skills and would boost their capability and further strength the diplomatic and military ties.

Nepal has been holding such joint military exercise with India, the US and recently held a multilateral joint military exercise with various nations involved in UN peace-keeping operations.