Saturday, Nov 15, 2003
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By P. S. Suryanarayana
The conventional three-part search-and-rescue naval exercise was successfully completed as planned, official sources said in telephonic conversation from Shanghai.
The exercise was agreed upon during the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's talks with top Chinese leaders in Beijing last June, and today's event was seen by both sides as a new beginning.
Three Indian naval ships INS Ranjit, INS Kulish and INS Jyoti and two Chinese vessels Jia Xing and Feng Chang took part, besides helicopters on each side.
The establishment of communications between the two sides, manoeuvres by them and an actual search-and-rescue operation in a simulated emergency constituted the three parts of the overall exercise.
On completion of the exercise, the Chinese ships returned to base and the Indian vessels set sail for home, the sources said.
Prior to the exercise, top naval officers from both sides held discussions and visited each other's ships in the past several days.
On the diplomatic front of importance to bilateral relations, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing had announced that the Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Jia Qinglin, would pay a visit to India, besides some other South Asian states, including Pakistan, from November 23 to December 7.
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