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‘No Veto to Third Countries’: India Rejects China’s Objections to Indo-US Military Exercise Near LAC

India on Thursday dismissed China’s objections to the joint Indo-US military exercises being held near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ukktarakhand’s Auli, stating that no third country has veto over its decisions.

“India chooses to hold exercise with whomever it wishes and any third country has no veto over it,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, adding, “there is no violation of any bilateral agreement between India and China with military Exercise with the USA.”

The statement came a day after China raised objections to the 18th edition of the India-US joint military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ currently underway in Uttarakhand, about 100 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Wednesday claimed that the military exercise violates the spirit of the two border agreements signed between New Delhi and Beijing in 1993 and 1996.

Responding to the statement, Bagchi said the joint exercises with the US in Auli has nothing to do with the 1993 and 1996 agreements with China. “But since these were raised by the Chinese side, I must emphasise that the Chinese side needs to reflect and think about its own breach of the agreements of 1993 and 1996,” he asserted.

Interestingly, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s reference to the 1993 and 1996 agreements is also the same argument India used as it termed the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) attempts to move a large number of troops to the disputed areas in the LAC in eastern Ladakh in May 2020 as a violation to the bilateral agreements, which state that the boundary question is resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations.

US-India Military Excercise

The military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ is conducted annually between India and the US with the aim of exchanging best practices, tactics, techniques and procedures between the armies of the two nations. “The 18th Edition of India-US Joint Exercise #YudhAbhyas commenced today at Foreign Training Node, Auli. The aim of Joint Exercise is to enhance interoperability & share expertise between both the Armies in Peace Keeping & Disaster Relief Operations. #IndianArmy #IndiaUSFriendship,” the Indian Army tweeted on November 19.

The previous edition of the exercise was conducted at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, the US in October 2021. The Ministry of Defence here on November 15 had said that US Army soldiers of 2nd Brigade of the 11th Airborne Division and Indian Army soldiers from the Assam Regiment will be participating in the exercise. The joint exercise will also focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.

(With inputs from PTI)

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