Indian Army Chief to visit China from Wednesday

Army Chief General Bikram Singh will be in China on a rare visit on Wednesday during which he will hold talks with top brass of the Chinese military, foreign ministry officials.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 29, 2014, 23:31 PM IST

Beijing: Army Chief General Bikram Singh will be in China on a rare visit on Wednesday during which he will hold talks with top brass of the Chinese military, foreign ministry officials besides addressing the Chinese military academy.

General Singh will be the second Army Chief to visit China from July 2-5. His visit is taking place after a nine year gap. Former Army chief Gen NC Vij had visited China in 2005.

General Singh, also chair of the committee of chiefs of staff of the Indian armed forces, will hold talks with General Fan Changlong, the Vice Chairman of China`s Military Commission, officials here said on Sunday.
The Commission which is the highest military body in China is headed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

General Fan oversees the operations of army, navy and the air force.

General Singh`s talks are expected to be focussed on firming up ties between the two militaries at the level of headquarters, Command levels as well as at the ground level along the disputed boundary.

His visit comes amid recurring incursions by Chinese troops along the 4,000 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) to assert China`s claim in the areas.

To deal with tensions arising out of the incursions by both sides, India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) last year.
His visit is aimed at implementing a number of steps incorporated in BDCA on the ground, officials said.

Singh will also meet top officials of Chinese Foreign Ministry and address PLA Academy, a rare honour for an Indian General.

His talks with Chinese officials would cover bilateral ties, regional security and other issues of common concern, spokesman of the Chinese Defence Ministry Yang Yujun told Chinese media during a briefing here.

As 2014 is the Year of Friendly Exchanges between China and India, the two defence ministries and armed forces will hold a series of exchange activities, Yang said.

Yang said the two sides are in communication to arrange
the activities, which will include a joint anti-terrorism exercises.

The visit of General Singh, who is slated to retire next month, is taking place when the new Indian government and the Chinese government were set to give a major push to the high-level political and military exchanges to give a new thrust to the relations.

His visit would follow the visit of Vice President Hamid Ansari, who would complete a five a day visit to China tomorrow.

He attended the 60th?year celebrations of Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence and held talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday and is set to meet President Xi tomorrow.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil next month.

India is scheduled to host the fourth "Hand in Hand" (HiH) counterterrorism exercise between the two armies later this year. Both sides had held three militant exercises so far.