India, China to resume military exercises; Antony to visit Beijing (Second Lead)September 4th, 2012 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) Against the backdrop of an imminent once-in-a-decade leadership transition in Beijing, India and China Tuesday decided to resume their stalled joint military exercises “at the earliest” and boost security cooperation to sustain peace and tranquility in border areas.
The two rising Asian powers also focused on building strategic trust in ties that are prone to misunderstandings and agreed to boost confidence-building measures against the projected scenarios of rivalry in the Asian hemisphere and the maritime domain.
The decision to resume joint military exercises, which was stalled in 2010 due to a diplomatic spat over visa issues, was announced after 90-minute talks between Defence Minister A.K. Antony and his Chinese counterpart Gen. Liang Guanglie, the first Chinese defence minister to visit India in eight years.
Terming the talks as “very fruitful and candid”, Antony said he has accepted Liang’s invitation to visit Beijing next year.
“We have decided that (to resume Army-to-Army exercises) and I have also accepted the invitation by him to visit China sometime next year as per mutual convenience,” he told reporters.
Antony added that the two sides held discussions about “improving relations at the border areas and the situation in the South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region”.
“It was agreed by the two sides to conduct the next round of joint military exercises at the earliest,” an Indian defence ministry spokesperson said in a statement. “They also agreed to strengthen border security cooperation between the border troops of the two sides so as to enhance and maintain peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas.”
The two Asian powers held their first joint military exercise in Kunming in China in 2007, followed by a second edition in Belgaum in India in 2008.
India suspended all bilateral defence exercises with China after Beijing denied a visa to the then Northern Army Commander, Lt. Gen. B.S Jaswal, on the grounds that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir, a disputed area which is claimed by Pakistan.
The military ties resumed late last year with both sides underlining the need for building greater strategic trust.
The two ministers focused on greater confidence building measures and coordination among their militaries in the sensitive border areas, where China has built massive infrastructure on its side of the frontier.
The Chinese side is understood to have allayed New Delhi’s concerns over Beijing’s massive-military infrastructure build-up along the border and stressed on greater cooperation to avoid misunderstandings.
“We have reached important consensus on strategic issues and for cooperation in promoting friendly ties, including between our armed forces,” Gen. Liang, who is on a four-day visit to India, told reporters through an interpreter.
He added the two sides had also reached agreement and consensus on exchanges between their militaries, including high-level visits, between officers and between their navies and also in maritime security cooperation.
India is also understood to have conveyed its concerns over the enhanced activities of Chinese troops in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region.
The shifting geopolitical regional dynamics also figured prominently in the discussions. “We covered a lot about the situation in the South Asia, Asia-Pacific region and we have covered a lot of issues,” Antony said. “We had a very frank and heart-to-heart discussion on all the issues… including in the border areas.”
Gen. Liang’s visit to India, barely weeks before the leadership transition gets under way in Beijing, is seen here to signal a desire on the part of China’s political and defence establishment to have a peaceful periphery and hassle-free relations with India.
Significantly, the Chinese defence minister’s visit is taking place three months after US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s visit to New Delhi when he declared India the “lynchpin” of the new American military strategy in Asia.
Analysts have pointed out that the maritime domain and competing ambitions of China in India’s perceived backyard in the Indian Ocean and India’s upswing in its relations with China’s neighbours like Vietnam could potentially be a source of friction between the two Asian giants.
- India, China to resume joint military exercises (Roundup) - Sep 04, 2012
- India, China to resume joint military exercises (Lead) - Sep 04, 2012
- India, China agree to work closely in Asia-Pacific region - Sep 07, 2012
- Chinese defence minister to visit India - Aug 30, 2012
- High expectations from Chinese minister's India trip: Daily - Sep 05, 2012
- India, China to discuss ramp up in military ties - Sep 02, 2012
- Indian, Chinese defence ministers hold 'fruitful' talks - Sep 04, 2012
- 'China, India military exchanges back on track' - Sep 03, 2012
- India-China defence dialogue resumed; border mechanism gets a push - Dec 09, 2011
- Sri Lanka is no stage for India-China rivalry: Envoy (Interview) - Sep 17, 2012
- China told about activities in Pakistani Kashmir: India - Sep 03, 2012
- India, China hold maiden border mechanism talks - Mar 06, 2012
- India, China planning joint army exercise in 2012 - Nov 13, 2011
- India for freedom of navigation in South China Sea - Aug 30, 2012
- India flags maritime troubles with China at meet with Japan - Nov 03, 2011
Tags: antony, asia pacific region, belgaum, border areas, border security, chinese counterpart, chinese defence, confidence building, defence minister, defence ministry, india china, indian defence, kunming, leadership transition, military exercise, mutual convenience, peace and tranquility, security cooperation, South Asia, visa issues