Kathmandu, Apr 13 (PTI) Nepal and China will hold the first-ever joint military exercise from Sunday with a special focus on combating terror and disaster management, the Nepal Army announced today.

The 10-day-long military drill that will last till April 25 is being organised by the two countries as part of their preparedness against terrorism that has posed as a serious security threat globally, it said.

The military exercise named ‘Sagarmatha Friendship-2017’ will also focus on common interests like disaster management.

Sagarmatha is the Nepali name of Mt Everest, the world’s highest peak, that is bordering between Nepal and China.

Although Nepal has been holding joint military exercises with other countries including India and the United States, this is the first time Nepal is holding such an exercise with China, which is increasingly expanding his presence in the land-locked country.

“In a bid to give continuity of joint military training and exercises with neighboring countries and friendly nations; and in the context of terrorism that is posing as serious threat to the global peace and its possible challenges to the global security, we are holding a first ever joint military exercise with China, said the statement.

It noted that such kind of multilateral and bilateral training slots and exercises will provide opportunities to both the armies in exchanging their professional skills, boosting their capability and further strengthening the diplomatic and military ties between the two nations.

Nepal had proposed joint military exercises between the Nepal Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with the focus on disaster management and enhancing the skills of both the militaries during Chinese Defense Minister General Chang Wanquan’s official visit to Nepal on March 24.

During the visit, Wanquan had pledged a grant assistance of Rs 3.04 billion (200 million yuan) to strengthen the Nepal Army in disaster management and equip it for the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

The Rs 3.04 billion military assistance from Beijing came weeks after China’s pledge during an investment summit in March to plough USD 8.3 billion (approximately Rs 860 billion), equivalent to nearly 40 per cent of Nepal’s Gross Domestic Product, into Nepal for infrastructure development, Nepalese media reports said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.