Ministry: Nations' military drills shouldn't target 3rd party

2022-08-26 China Daily Editor:Mo Hong'e

Indian and Chinese national flags flutter side by side at the Raisina hills in New Delhi, India, in this file photo. (Photo/Xinhua)

China is firmly opposed to any form of interference by a third party in the China-India boundary issue, Defense Ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Tan Kefei said on Thursday.

He also stressed that military exercises between countries should not target any third party.

The spokesman made the remarks after a 20-day joint exercise was conducted by Indian and United States special forces in the southern foothills of the Himalayas.

In addition, some media reported that the U.S. and Indian militaries plan to hold a joint exercise in areas close to the China-India border in October, focusing on combat capabilities in plateau and mountainous areas.

"We are closely watching the situation," Tan said. "We have been emphasizing that defense cooperation, especially drills, between relevant countries, ought not to target any third party and should be conducive to regional peace and stability."

The China-India boundary issue is a matter between the two countries, and both sides have maintained effective communication at all levels and agreed to properly handle related situations through bilateral dialogue, said Tan.

According to agreements signed by China and India in 1993 and 1996, the two sides are not allowed to conduct military exercises targeting each other in areas near the Line of Actual Control, the spokesman said. He also expressed firm opposition to any form of third-party interference on the boundary issue.

"It is hoped that India will strictly abide by the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and relevant agreements," he said, calling on India to honor its commitment to resolving the boundary issue through bilateral channels and take concrete measures to maintain peace in border areas.

Yuan Zheng, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies, said that the U.S. is using India-a member of the U.S.-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue platform-to contain China.

"The U.S. is obviously not willing to see harmony between China and India, but rather conflicts between the two Asian countries," he said. "Therefore, it is attempting to fully exploit the differences between China and India on the boundary issue."

The U.S. is "increasing its military cooperation with India, which is an important pillar of (the U.S.') so-called 'Indo-Pacific' strategy, to expand its presence in this area", he said, adding that India also intends to counterbalance China in the region by involving the U.S..

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