New Delhi: An Indian Army contingent has returned home after the “successful completion” of its ‘Hand in Hand’ joint training exercise with China.

A defence ministry release said the contingent reached Guwahati Thursday by a special Indian Air Force IL-76 heavy-life transport aircraft.

The exercise was conducted at the Miaoergang comprehensive training area, 130 km south of Chengdu in Sichuan province.

One hundred and sixty personnel of the 16 Sikh Light Infantry batallion of the Indian Army and a similar strength of the People’s Liberation Army participated in the exercise.

The two contingents were converted into two mixed companies to enhance mutual understanding and trust during the counter-terrorism exercise which explored “pragmatic co-operation”.

The two contingents learned from each other and improved tactics and techniques.

Joint training is one of the major areas of bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries. The first joint training was held at Kuming, China in December 2007 and the second at Belgaum in Karnataka in November 2008. The next joint training exercise is scheduled to be held in India next year.

According to the release, the send-off at Chendu airport was an emotional moment for both the contingents.

“The parting was heart-filled for all participants,” the release said.

Source: IANS