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Pak, China militaries to hold joint anti-terror drill

July 01, 2010 17:24 IST

A contingent of the Pakistani Army's special forces left for China on Thursday to participate in a joint anti-terrorism drill coinciding with President Asif Ali Zardari's July 6-11 visit to that country.

The bilateral military training exercise, codenamed Youyi or Friendship III, is the third drill of its kind.

The weeklong exercise coinciding with Zardari's visit will be held in Qingtongxia in northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

Troops of the Special Services Group of both countries will participate in the exercise, the Pakistani military said in a statement.

"The aim of the exercise is to practice counter-terrorism mechanisms (and) drills in mountains and developing inter-personal rapport between participants of both sides," the statement said.

The Pakistani military said its "unprecedented success in counter-terrorism operations has contributed to an environment in which the Pakistani Army and the People's Liberation Army (of China) have sought to hold a joint exercise to benefit from each others' experiences."

The exercise has also been designed to benefit from the professional skills of the special forces at the "sub unit level".

Besides the special forces from both countries, the Chinese Air Force will participate in the manoeuvres.

The senior military leadership from both sides will attend the exercise.

China's ministry of national defence has said the drill is aimed at deepening the relationship between the two armies, promoting pragmatic exchanges and enhancing their capabilities in fighting terrorism and safeguarding regional peace and stability.

China has been pressing Islamabad to crack down on Uygur Muslim separatists in its Xinjiang region bordering Pakistan.

President Zardari is visiting China for talks with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. China has defended its nuclear cooperation with Pakistan as peaceful after the US sought clarification from Beijing on the sale of two reactors to Islamabad.

China and Pakistan held their first joint anti-terrorism exercise in Xinjiang in 2004 while the second drill was conducted in the hills of Pakistan's Abbottabad area.
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