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Hand and Hand and Warrior VIII: How PLA Balances Partners and Allies

Published Dec 06, 2019
Updated Feb 18, 2020

China PLA is conducting simultaneous joint exercise with armies of all weather friend Pakistan and strategic partner India.

ChinaMilitary online reported that a Chinese military contingent departed the garrison of a special force brigade under the PLA Xinjiang Military Command on November 30 to attend the China-Pakistan “Warrior-VII” joint military exercise. They would arrive in Pakistan via motorized vehicles and air transport for the month-long joint military drill with their Pakistani peers.

This is the seventh edition of the “Warrior” serial joint exercises between Chinese and Pakistani Special Forces, aiming to deepen cooperation and exchange between the two Special Forces and enhance their capacities to handle various security threats and implement diverse military operations as per the web site.

India’s Ministry of Defence in a Press Release indicated that The 8th India-China joint training exercise ‘HAND-IN-HAND 2019’ with the theme counter terrorism under United Nations mandate is scheduled to be conduct at Umroi, Meghalaya from 07 to 20 December 2019. 

The Chinese contingent from the Tibet Military command comprising of 130 personal and the Indian Contingent of similar strength will participate in the 14 day long training exercise. The exercise is planned at the company level with respective Battalion Headquarters controlling the training.

The aim of the exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct of counter terrorist operations in semi urban terrain. The exercise schedule is focused upon training on various lectures & drills associated with counter terrorist handling & firing with each othersweapons, special heliborne operations and case studies of various operations carried out in counter terrorist environment. Two tactical exercises are scheduled during the training; one on counter terrorism scenario and the other on Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

In China-Pakistan “Warrior-VII” joint military exercisetroops will cooperate in the simulated counterterrorism operations in mountainous regions, which focuses on thorough training of diverse combat skills such as close combat, battlefield reconnaissance, infiltration tactics and so on.

The training emphasizes integrated planning and individual capacity at the same time, aiming to improve combat effectiveness and military readiness.

A new exercise subject, joint defense of key facilities, will be added to the drills, as troops will engage in counter-terrorism in mountainous areas, according to the statement.

Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that key facilities might include iconic government and civilian buildings and major projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as these could be targets for terrorists, based on past events.

Construction sites, mines, harbors and highways might also be vulnerable to terrorist attacks, Li said.

The joint exercise will help to strengthen weak spots and find ways to prevent attacks in the first place, Li said.

The drills will feature live ammunition that will put both commanders’ and soldiers’ capabilities to the test, said Yang Lei, commander of the Chinese unit, in the defense ministry statement, noting that the event will enrich military training cooperation and deepen the traditional friendship between the Chinese and Pakistani armies.

Air Force

Chinese and Pakistani air forces wrapped up the half-month-long Shaheen VIII joint exercises, featuring some of the two countries’ top aircraft, in northwestern China in August.


The two countries will also hold a joint naval exercise in Pakistani waters in January.

Xinhua reported China and Pakistan will stage a joint maritime exercise in Pakistan in January 2020, China’s Ministry of National Defense announced Thursday.

The drill was scheduled according to the annual exchange plan between the two militaries, said the ministry’s spokesman Ren Guoqiang at a press conference.

China will send destroyers, frigates, supply ships and submarine rescue ships to the exercise, according to Ren.

“The exercise is conducive to deepening security cooperation between the two militaries, consolidating and developing the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, and promoting the building of a maritime community with a shared future,” Ren said.

The military drill is not related to any regional situations and does not target any third party, Ren said.

PLA carries out joint exercises with all the three services of Pakistan – Army, Navy and Air Force.

On the other hand, present exercises with India is restricted to the Army only and is in the form of confidence building.

With Pakistan however the aim is to operate jointly to counter operational challenges faced

For instance in Warrior VIII countering terrorist threat to key CPEC facilities will be practiced.