New Delhi: On Friday, a 139-member contingent of the Chinese Army reached the Indian state of Meghalaya to participate in a joint military exercise. It’s the eighth India-China joint training exercise. Named ''Hand-in-Hand 2019'' , the exercise commenced on Saturday at the Umroi area of Meghalaya.

The Indian Army on Sunday said the 8th joint exercise of Chinese and Indian armies underlines the message that both nations "well understand the emerging threat of terrorism and stand shoulder to shoulder in countering this menace plaguing the world".

The Chinese contingent is participating in the exercise at the company-level with respective battalion headquarters controlling the training.

The fortnight-long joint exercise is intended to practice the joint planning and conducting of counter-terror operations in a semi-urban terrain, Indian Defence spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said.

According to officials, the exercise is focused on training through various lectures and drills associated with counter-terrorist handling and firing with each others' weapons, battle obstacles course, special heliborne operations, and case studies of various operations carried out in a counter-terror environment, media reports said.

There are two tactical exercises that are scheduled during the training - a Counter-terrorism scenario and Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, the Indian Army has revealed in a statement.

On 4 December, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said notwithstanding perceptional differences over the border with China, New Delhi and Beijing share a mutually beneficial relationship in several sectors, including defence.

In 2018, an annual bilateral defence exercise was held in the Chinese city of Chengdu in which 100 troops from both sides each took part.

No exercise took place in 2017 in view of the 72-day standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam region - a tri-junction at the border that separates India, Bhutan, and China. It created a military stalemate between the two countries, which could be normalised only after both sides agreed to disengage in August 2018.

On 13 November, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the 11th BRICS summit in Brasilia and decided that special representatives of both countries – Ajit Doval and Wang Yi - would meet towards the end of December to discuss the boundary question and other issues of mutual interest.