The decision has worried India because its relations with China are on low ebb. In addition, India is trying hard to increase its sphere of influence in Nepal since Prachanda became Prime Minister and trying to undo the pro-China moves initiated by his predecessor Khadga Prasad Oli.
Sensing India's sensitivity, Nepal has sought to play down the import of the first-ever joint exercises. It says the drills will be on a limited scale and will not impact India-Nepal bilateral relations.
"Nepal relations with India are deep rooted and ancient. We do this type of joint exercises on a routine basis with various countries," Nepal ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay told Sputnik. There is a grain of substance in the Nepal envoy's remarks. India frequently stages "hand-in-hand" joint military exercises with China.
India is concerned about the growing proximity between China and Nepal. In fact, India took a sigh of relief after the fall of the Oli government in Nepal because of its pro-China leanings. But what has been keeping India on toes is Prime Minister Prachanda's softness towards China.
The proposed joint military exercise named Pratikar-1 between China and Nepal will focus on counter terrorism and train the Nepali forces in tackling hostage situations involving international terror groups.
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