Army exercise in Arunachal not linked to Xi Jinping trip, India says as China objects

NEW DELHI, Sep 5: The Indian military exercise, ‘Him-Vijay’, in Arunachal Pradesh has nothing to do with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to India, defence sources said on Saturday.
The Indian Army’s newly raised 17 Corps is carrying out the mega exercise at a height of around 15,000 ft in Arunachal.
There have been reports that China has raised objection to India on the exercise ahead of Jinping’s visit to India to hold the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The sources said the exercise is taking place around 100 kms from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de-facto border between the two countries, and that it was scheduled much in advance.
They said the formations undertake such exercise for familiarization and acclimatization during the months preceding winters and post-winters.
Such exercises are held by all formations of the Eastern Command.
‘Operation Him-Vijay’ will culminate on 25 October.
The sources said as the 17 Corps is new, its troops conduct familiarization and orientation drills in depth areas which are generally at high altitude as a matter of routine.
China claims the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal as part of southern Tibet. India has maintained that Arunachal is an integral and inalienable part of the country. The two countries have held over 20 rounds of talks to resolve the border dispute.
Jinping is expected to visit India next week to hold the second informal summit with Modi. The dates for his visit are yet to be announced.
In their first informal summit, Modi and Jinping had decided to issue ‘strategic guidance’ to their militaries to strengthen communication and build trust and understanding between the border guarding forces of the two countries.
The summit had taken place months after Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam. (PTI)