India-China defence dialogue Friday

December 8th, 2011 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) India and China hold their annual defence dialogue Friday when the two sides will exchange their perspectives on regional and global security issues, apart from planning for their 2012 military exchanges, a government official said Thursday.

At the fourth round of the annual defence dialogue to be held here, India’s Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma and Chinese Deputy Chief of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Ma Xiaotian will also review the ongoing confidence building measures on the borders between the two sides, defence ministry officials said here.

The Chinese delegation is scheduled to arrive at the Indira Gandhi International Airport Friday morning, and soon after their dialogue will begin here.

Xiaotian will also call on Defence Minister A.K. Antony in the afternoon, officials said.

“During the annual defence dialogue, both sides will exchange perspectives on regional and global security issues. Both sides will also review the ongoing confidence building measures on the borders and are expected to finalise plans for further defence exchanges during 2012,” an official said.

The two nations are going ahead with their dialogue despite the setback 12 days ago when the border talks between the special representatives from the two sides were suspended over China’s objection to India hosting a global Buddhist meet in which Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was a special guest.

The defence dialogue comes after more than a year as India had suspended exchanges with China to protest the denial of proper visa to its then commander of Indian Army troops in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in mid-2010. It was revived after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Sanya for the first BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit earlier this year.

From the Indian side, a multi-command delegation led by a Major General, heading a counter-insurgency force in Jammu and Kashmir, visited China June 19-23 this year and it was reciprocated by China with a PLA delegation to India Nov 4-9.

“Both sides will undertake a further round of delegation exchanges before the end of this month,” the official said.

Among the exchanges could be a joint army exercise that the two sides have not held since 2008.

The joint exercise, named “Hand-in-Hand”, was inaugurated in December 2007 when an Indian Army team visited China for sharing of skills and experience in counter-terrorism operations. The second edition of Hand-in-Hand was held in Belgaum in Karnataka in December 2008, when India hosted the Chinese army team.

If the third edition is held in 2012, it will be again hosted by China.

However, the two sides may also raise irritants in the military relations. India may raise transgressions by Chinese personnel and aircraft into Indian territory, while China may flag its concerns over Indian warships venturing into the South China Sea, which Beijing views as its backyard.

But both sides are likely to stick to their respective stand on the lack of clarity on the Line of Actual Control and the freedom of navigation in international waters in the backdrop of these issues over which the two sides have sparred in recent months.

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