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Military exercise with US: Delhi dismisses Beijing objections, says haven’t given veto to any third country

China has objected to the military exercise, arguing that it violates the agreements it had with India in 1993 and 1996.

Indian and US Army personnel during the joint exercise in Auli, Uttarakhand, on Wednesday. (PTI)

In a sharp response to China’s objections to the ongoing joint India-US military exercise in Uttarakhand’s Auli, India on Thursday said it “does not give a veto to third countries” on matters such as its joint military exercises with any country.

China has objected to the military exercise, arguing that it violates the agreements it had with India in 1993 and 1996.

Calling out the exercise, being conducted around 100 km from Line of Actual Control, China on Wednesday said that it violates the spirit of the agreements and “does not help build bilateral trust”.

On Thursday, External Affairs Ministry (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “I must emphasise that the Chinese side needs to reflect and think about its own breach of the agreements of 1993 and 1996. India exercises with whomever it chooses to and it does not give a veto to third countries on these issues.”

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The 1993 agreement deals with maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC with China in the India-China Border Areas; the 1996 pact was about confidence-building measures in the military field along the LAC with China.

The 18th India-US joint military exercise — “Yudh Abhyas” — is currently underway in Auli.

Asked about the ongoing protests in China over its “zero Covid” policy and restrictions, Bagchi declined to comment. “We would hope that humanity as a whole is able to emerge fully from Covid at the earliest,” he said. “But insofar as specific Covid strategies that each country may be pursuing, I might not like to get into that.”

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Bagchi also sought to play down reports that sanctions-hit Russia has sent a list of over 500 items to India for imports, including car, aircraft and train components. “I am not sure there’s an agreement as such, or if even such items have been supplied,” he said.

“We have regular engagement with Russia on how to expand trade, and this has been going on for many years. I would urge nothing more should be read into this,” he said.

First published on: 01-12-2022 at 19:36 IST
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