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Updated 8:47 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

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India on Edge as China, Nepal Set to Conduct Military Exercise Next Year

China-Nepal Military Exercise.

(Photo : Getty Images) Nepal will conduct its first ever joint military exercise with China in the first week of February. The joint military exercise has reportedly left India quite nervous.

Nepal will conduct its first ever joint military exercise with China on Feb. 10, in what is apparently a beginning of a new chaper in the Sino-Nepal military engagement, senior military officials told Nepalese media.    

The military exercise, named as Pratikar-1, will focus on horning the skills of Nepali soldiers in coping with hostage situations involving international terror groups.

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The plan to hold joint military exercise was apparently one of the main talking points during Nepal's army chief General Rajendra Chhetri's visit to Beijing in March. Both countries had resolved to enhance their military ties during the visit.

Traditionally, the Himalayan nation has shared close military ties with neighboring India, with whom it has signed several military agreements and treaties. 

India Uncomfortable over Sino-Nepal Military Exercise  

Meanwhile, signals from the Indian government suggested that India is not happy with Kathmandu's decision to go for a joint military exercise with one of its regional rivals.  

India is likely to see the decision as a setback to its effort to mend ties with Nepal under the new Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who took over the office after anti-Indian PM Khadga Prasad Oli resigned earlier this year.

Nepal's ambassador to India, Deep Upadhyay, quickly jumped in to cool the nerves of Indian leadership, explaining that India has nothing to worry about since the military exercise would be on a "small scale."

"We have done similar exercises with some other countries, too, in the past to be able to deal with the Maoists," the ambassador told Times of India. He also assured that Nepal has a special relationship with India and that relationship will remain intact despite the military exercise with China.

China's Quest for Increasing Influence in Nepal & South Asia    

Over the years, Chinese leadership has been on a mission to increase its footprints in Nepal and other South Asian countries, where India holds considerable influence.

Analysts said that Beijing wants to challenge New Delhi's supremacy on its own backyard as it looks to cement its position as a "rising global power."

China has inked several infrastructure deals worth billions of dollars in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Foreign experts claimed that Beijing aims to dislodge India's supremacy in these countries through its mega infrastructure projects.

Except for Pakistan, India enjoys huge influence in almost all the South Asian countries.  

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