In a bid to ensure peace and tranquility on the border, Chinese and Indian border troops have conducted a joint disaster relief exercise, China’s defense ministry said on Monday.
Official relations between the world’s two fastest growing economies have come a long way since the two fought a brief border war in 1962.
The exercise is a part of ongoing initiatives being taken by India and China to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the border.
The two armies practised handling scenarios like rescuing trapped herders on Saturday, according to a statement posted on China’s Ministry of Defence website.
“The exercises are designed to implement the Chinese-India border cooperation agreement, to jointly safeguard peace and stability in these areas,” the statement said.
China and India agreed to begin military exchanges and establish a hotline linking army commanders on either side of their disputed border last year.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed at a meeting in May to start annual visits between their militaries, expand exchanges between border commanders and start using a military hotline.
The proposal to establish a military hotline was first made in 2013 after a crucial Border Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed between the two countries during former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s state visit to China.
An Indian Army delegation had visited China in December as the neighbours and BRICS partners attempt to promote mutual trust in the Line of Actual Control.
The two countries already have hotlines between the two prime ministers Offices.
A military hotline would be a direct communication link between the armies of the two neighbours.
The military communications channel is designed to reduce the risk of friction at the border.
Chinese and Indian armies held joint anti-terrorism military drills in October in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
The training was the fifth of its kind between the two countries’ armies.
China has recently lauded Indian support during its World War II conflict with Japan.
Chinese envoy Le Yucheng said in August last year that India helped China defeat “fascist Japan”.
“The Chinese people will not forget that as military allies, Chinese and Indian armies fought shoulder to shoulder against the Fascists, notably in the theater in Myanmar and the Indian army was instrumental in inflicting the most serious land defeat suffered by Japan in the war,” he said.
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also referred to the burgeoning trade and investment ties between India and China.
“India-China trade has increased significantly. Trade has brought the two countries much closer… We have some contentious issues of the past between us, but even while those issues would be resolved in the due course, I think our economic relations have become a symbol of strength and therefore mutual investments in each other’s country will be a win-win situation for both of us,” Jaitley said.
“China had been a significant contributor to the global growth in the past decade,” the Indian Finance Minister said last year.
“Great economies do compete with each other and that does not mean they become opponents,” he said while facing media questions on the ‘rivalry’ between the two neighbours.
BRICS members China, India and Russia are also the three largest shareholders in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with a voting share of 26.06 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 5.92 per cent, respectively.
The BRICS Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund are all initiatives spearheaded by China for a new kind of global development financing.
India has partnered with China on both the BRICS Bank and the AIIB.