As part of bilateral defence cooperation, India and China will hold a joint military exercise on counter-terrorism, called ‘Hand-in-Hand’, in Meghalaya in December, informed sources said on Tuesday. Nearly 130 troops of the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) each will participate in it.

Sources said the exercise would enhance the capacity of both Indian and Chinese troops to respond to any emergency situation to counter terror.

The exercise was previously held in December last year at Chengdu, China. Company size contingents of the Indian Army’s 11 SIKHLI and a regiment from Tibetan Military District of the PLA participated in it.

The two countries did not hold the exercise in 2017 because of heightened tension in the wake of the 72-day-long standoff between their troops in Doklam. The standoff brought a drastic change in ties between them. While the strength of either side in Doklam has reduced, the Indian Army is continuously monitoring Chinese activities in the area.

The exercise will take place in the backdrop of the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which has remained largely peaceful. The number of transgressions this year has reduced considerably as compared to last year, according to the Defence Ministry’s annual report.

The percentage of face-offs during these transgressions has also reduced. Flag meetings between the two countries have increased following two informal summits between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Special Representatives (SRs) of the two countries on the border issue are expected to meet again soon for their next round of talks. Both countries have decided not to allow differences between them to become disputes.