The Indian Minister of Defence, Mr AK Antony, paid an official visit to China from 4-7 July 2013 at the invitation of the Chinese Defence Minister Gen Chang Wanquan. He held talks with his counterpart Gen Chang Wanquan and also called on Premier Li Keqiang. Raksha Mantri also met State Councillor Yang Jiechi.
2. The two Defence Ministers held talks in a cordial and friendly atmosphere and had an extensive exchange of views on a wide range of defence and security issues. They reaffirmed that defence exchanges were an important facet of the India-China strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity.
3. Noting that peace and tranquility on the border was an important guarantor for the growth and development of bilateral cooperation, the Ministers emphasized the importance of enhancing mutual trust and understanding between the two militaries. They reviewed the working of agreements and protocols dealing with the maintenance of peace and tranquility and directed that it be further strengthened. Appreciating that border defence cooperation would make a significant contribution in this regard, they agreed on an early conclusion of negotiations for the Border Defence Cooperation agreement between the two Governments.
4. The Ministers discussed ongoing and proposed bilateral exchanges and welcomed the holding of the counter-terrorism bilateral joint exercise between their armies in China in 2013. They also agreed on the following additional exchanges and visits between India and China:
i. Senior military commanders from service headquarters, command/military region and field formations will exchange visits regularly on a mutually agreed annual schedule.
ii. Visits of border troop delegations would be enhanced to promote dialogue and strengthen trust and cooperation.
iii. Border Personnel Meetings(BPM) will take place with greater frequency and additional locations will be finalized after discussions.
iv. The Navies will increase ship visits, consider conducting joint maritime search and rescue exercises and cooperate in counter-piracy operations. The call by PLA Navy Hospital ship ‘ Peace Ark’ to Mumbai in August 2013 was welcomed.
v. The Air Forces will carry out high level visits and expand their functional exchanges. They would focus on topics of mutual interest including flight safety, aviation medicine and training.
vi. Military training institutions will also strengthen their exchanges at the faculty and student levels.
vii. To promote greater awareness and understanding among young officers of the armed forces, visits and exchanges will be carried out annually.