China and India held a joint anti-terrorism exercise recently – “Hand-in-Hand 2015” at Kunming Military Academy in Yunnan province. According to Chinese military report, armies from China and India were mixed and separated into two companies, one led by a Chinese military officer, consisting of three Chinese platoons and one Indian platoon, another led by an Indian military officer, consisting of one Chinese platoon and three Indian platoons.
The mixed army ate, lived and trained together, to promote communication and mutual learning. On the anti-terrorism training ground, both sides learned from each other positively.
The joint military exercise between Chinese army and Indian army indicated many differences between the two countries’ military trainings.
It is reported that Indian army emphasized rapid shooting for pistols, while PLA emphasized shooting accuracy. Chinese master sergeant Yang Maoqi said both Chinese and Indian military tactics have advantages and disadvantages for anti-terrorism combats.
In air landing trainings, Indian army adopted backward leaning while Chinese army adopted forward leaning. Indian commander of the mixed company thought the Chinese means is good for using weapons during the air landing, while the Indian means is safer when carrying heavy weapons like rocket launchers and heavy machine guns, so his suggestion was mastering both methods and use them based on conditions on the battleground.
In the joint training of indoor searching, when the commandos got close to campsites of “terrorists”, Chinese soldiers and officials rushed quickly to the camps and occupied commanding heights soon and then spread combat formation; while Indian army advanced slowly, because Indian soldiers and officials thought landmines and exploders might be placed near the camps, so they must be careful for every step.
Lv Yunlong, platoon leader of a Chinese platoon said: “These details let us know more about protecting ourselves in actual combats, and are worth learning.”
But the question is: Don’t the Chinese army have rich experience in anti-terrorism in Xinjiang? Or Chinese terrorists don’t know how to use landmines and exploders? Some underlying intention behind Sino-India joint military exercise is reflected, although the two armies seem to be unprecedentedly friendly since the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
The truth might be that the Chinese army in the joint military exercise with Indian army doesn’t actually aim at anti-terrorism, but field battles.
In China, armed police force is the main strength against terrorists, but according to Chinese official information about the joint exercise, the Chinese soldiers and officers came from 14th army group of Chengdu Military Region, which guards the southwest border against India and other countries. Similar situation happened to the Indian army for the joint exercise.
So such joint exercise is more like an act to know each other’s real situation.
Although interpreters were assigned in the exercise ground of China and India, but most Chinese and Indian military officers communicated directly via English.
Chinese First Class Private Zhu Yanpeng said: “Not only Chinese military officers, many Chinese soldiers in the counter-terrorism joint exercise can speak English fluently; this is good for mutual learning.”
Teamwork between Chinese and Indian armies was also highlighted in the joint military exercise, they passed through wire mesh, fire wall and water pits together, and each team containing six Chinese soldiers and six Indian soldiers lifted logs of 90 kilograms for 80 times together, and also operated pneumatic boats through ponds together.
China and India troops also held joint military exercises in November 2013 and 2014, before that, both countries hadn’t held such joint drills for five years, and last one was in 2008. And such joint military exercises began from 2007. The joint military drills are thought to aim at ease the tension between Chinese military and Indian military caused by Sino-Indian border dispute since Sino-Indian War in 1962.
China has been more active and positive in joining and carrying out joint and domestic military exercises since the new administration.
One anonymous Chinese military expert said such joint military exercises between China and India involved only hundreds of troops, much less than those joint exercises between China and Russia, U.S. and South Korea, or even India and Singapore, so the political significance was much bigger than military significance.