Srinagar: A ceremonial border personnel meeting (BPM) on the occasion of Diwali was held on Monday between Indian and Chinese Army delegations on the Indian side of the border at Chushul in the Ladakh region. “A BPM was held on the occasion of Diwali at the Indian BPM huts at Chushul-Moldo and DBO-TWD in eastern Ladakh Monday,” a defence spokesman said. (Also read: India, China Set to Establish Hotline Between Defence Ministries)

He added that the Indian delegations were led by Brigadier VK Purohit and Colonel SS Lamba and the Chinese delegations by Senior Colonel Yin Hong Chen and Colonel Song Zhang Li. The ceremonial BPM was marked by the lighting of traditional lamps by the delegation leaders, followed by their ceremonial address, the defence spokesman said.

He added that both sides highlighted the peace, tranquillity and understanding prevailing on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). A cultural programme showcasing the vibrant Indian culture was held with traditional grandeur, the defence spokesman said, adding that the delegations interacted with each other in a free, congenial and cordial environment and parted amidst feelings of friendship and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations between both sides.

Late last month, China said the two countries would hold joint military drills later this year and officials from the two sides will soon meet in Chinese city Chengdu to finalise the plans to resume the exercises, the Defence Ministry said. The 7th India and China joint military exercises will be held in China this year, Defence Ministry spokesman Col Wu Qian told a media briefing.

“The two sides agreed to hold the planning conference in Chengdu to further discuss on details of the joint exercises,” he said. The exercises – ‘Hand-in-Hand’ – focussing on counter-terrorism operations were not held last year as both sides were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam in the Sikkim sector of the border.