DGMO-level hotline to be made operational soon

In an attempt to put behind tension at the boundary, the armies of India and China will resume more military engagements, including the annual military exercise.

Top officials in the Ministry of Defence and also the forces met their Chinese counterparts in November at a scheduled meeting. They also formally agreed to have a hotline at the level of the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO). “Some technical issues need to be sorted out and it will be operational soon,” a senior functionary confirmed. 

In 2018, the two sides are set to revive the exercise that had been put on hold following the 73-day military standoff at Doklam. It is expected that China will send the invite to India to conduct the Hand-in-Hand exercise. It was to be hosted in 2017 and China was to be the host as per the arrangement to conduct it in each country by rotation.

The exercise was planned in October-November, but China backed out in May. In 2016, India had hosted the exercise.

There have been six editions of the exercise. In the past, however, Hand-in-Hand was suspended for five years (2010-2014) after China refused to give visa to then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal saying Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory. 

In October 2016, the two armies conducted their first-ever joint exercise in eastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

The India-China joint statement at Beijing in 2015 had committed to enhancing border defence cooperation.