China’s defence minister likely to visit India

July 31st, 2012 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Ahead of the once-in-a-decade leadership transition in Beijing, India and China are looking to step up defence ties, with China proposing a visit by its defence minister in September.

Chinese Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie has voiced his eagerness to visit New Delhi before the the Communist Party of China gets down to finalising the leadership transition, expected in Oct-Nov.

The Indian government has responded positively.

Gen. Liang’s visit is likely to take place in September.

India is also considering a request by the Chinese side for Defence Minister A.K. Antony to visit China.

China’s moves to step up defence ties with India have taken Indian officials by surprise, especially in view of lukewarm relations in the past.

Defence exchanges were suspended in July 2010 after the Pepople’s Liberation Army (PLA) refused to host the then head of the Northern Command, Lieutenant General B.S. Jaswal, on the grounds that he was serving in the “sensitive” region of Jammu and Kashmir, which is seen by Beijing as disputed territory.

But the two sides revived defence exchanges barely six months after this in a bid to keep their relations on an even keel.

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