Chinese defence minister to visit India


Beijing : Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie Wednesday began a three-day Asian tour that will also take him to India.

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Liang will be the first Chinese defence minister to visit New Delhi after March 2004, China Daily reported Thursday.

He went to India in 2005 as the chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army.

Liang’s first halt will be Sri Lanka, from where he will travel to India Sunday where he will spend three days before travelling to Laos.

Liang, heading a 23-member delegation that includes high-ranking members of the Chinese defence and military establishment, will meet Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Topics expected to be discussed include measures to maintain peace along the Sino-Indian border and confidence building between the armed forces of the two countries.

The two sides will also discuss measures to promote military cooperation between their armed forces.

“It is important for the countries to maintain regular visits of high-level military officials, develop bilateral military ties and improve mutual understanding,” China Daily quoted Ding Hao, a researcher at the Beijing-based Academy of Military Sciences, as saying.

“Talks between the defence ministers should be held regularly. Such a mechanism will help reduce doubts and suspicion of one another, as well as increase transparency,” added Sun Shihai, an expert on Indian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Sun said that India had shared interests and similar stances with China on many international and regional issues.

As the economic ties develop and the two neighbours seek to establish a border management mechanism, it was important for both to strengthen their military ties, Sun said.

“Without good communication and candid dialogue, military relations between China and India won’t be stable and fast moving,” he said.

Liang’s visits to Sri Lanka and Laos will also improve communication and bring tranquility to the region, China Daily said.