The Defence Minister Mr AK Antony who is on a four- day official visit to China today held delegation level talks with his counterpart Gen Chang Wanquan in Beijing. Mr Antony also later called on Premier Li Keqiang.
During the meetings, both sides discussed a number of issues relating to bilateral defence relations, exchanges and interactions between the Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces of both countries and the regional and international security situation.
Premier Li and the Defence Minister conveyed that the new leadership in China attaches great importance to developing friendly and cooperative relations with India. Mr Antony conveyed that India reciprocates the sentiment and looks forward to building the relationship further on a foundation of mutual trust and confidence and based on mutual respect for each other’s concerns. In the discussions between the two Defence Ministers, measures to promote mutual trust and confidence building between the Armed Forces were discussed. It was agreed that ‘strategic communication’ is required for building trust and understanding.
Both sides agreed on the need to maintain peace, tranquility and stability on the LAC. It was acknowledged that the border issue is a remnant of history which both sides are making efforts to resolve and it was agreed that the Special Representatives mechanism should continue to work towards a solution. Both sides also agreed that in the meanwhile, both countries will make joint efforts to maintain peace and tranquility on the borders and take measures to strengthen communication and coordination at various levels between the border guarding forces.
Among the measures for practical cooperation discussed was the conduct of the third joint Army exercise in China in October 2013. Both sides have also agreed that the Navies and Air Forces of both countries will also undertake enhanced professional exchanges.
Mr Antony was assisted by the Indian Ambassador Dr S Jaishankar, the Defence Secretary, Shri R.K.Mathur; GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, Lt General Dalbir Singh; FOC-in-C, Southern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Satish Soni and other officers of MoD and the Armed Forces.
Earlier on his arrival at the Bayi PLA Headquarters, Mr Antony was given a tri-Services guard of honour.
On Saturday, Mr Antony is expected to have further meetings in Beijing and will also be visiting the National Defence University and an Air Force unit in Tianjin.