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US to join India in military exercises near China border

Robert Besser
11 Aug 2022, 15:43 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. will participate in a joint military exercise in mid-October with India, less than 62 miles from its disputed border with China.

According to a senior Indian Army officer, the military drills will be held at an altitude of 10,000 feet in Auli, Uttarakhand state, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The LAC is a de facto border between India and China, which emerged from the Sino-Indian border war of 1962, sparked by long standing historical territorial disagreements.

The drills will take place as part of the 18th War Practice annual joint exercise.

Since a clash in the Himalayas in June 2020 left at least 20 Indian troops and four Chinese soldiers dead, relations between India and China have remained strained.

China's construction of a bridge across the Pangong Tso lake, a move condemned by the Indian government as an "illegal occupation," further heightened tensions.

U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General Charles Flynn described China's military build-up near the disputed border as "alarming," when visiting India this year.

In an interview with CNN, a U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson also said that the partnership with India was "one of the most important elements of our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region."

Despite tensions easing since the clash in 2020, both sides have maintained a large troop presence in the border region, raising the risk of sudden and unexpected clashes.

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