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Time has come for Sino-Indian exercises: Fernandes

By K. Balchand

PATNA OCT. 8. The time "has come" for Sino-Indian joint military exercises, the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, said here today. "Such exercises are held with friends (friendly countries) when possible and where suitable." However, he did not specify when and where the exercises would be conducted. Mr. Fernandes suggested the possibility in response to questions relating to the impact of the current naval exercises in the Arabian Sea with the United States. He said that while joint naval exercises with the U.S. forces had been continuing for quite some time now, the air wings of the two countries joined hands only after 9/11.

Such exercises helped assess each other's weaknesses and strength to mutual benefit. Asked if it was possible with Pakistan, he said: "Maybe one day".

However, Mr. Fernades said India was prepared to face threats of any nature from Pakistan.

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