‘Sino-India military exchanges to boost trust’



Beijing: Days after India and China agreed to have maritime cooperation, Beijing has favoured greater military ties with New Delhi, saying such exchanges would help build more "confidence and trust" between the two countries.

"Exchanges between our militaries will help us build more confidence and trust with each other," Deputy Director General of Asian Department in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sun Weidong said.

His remarks came ahead of President Hu Jintao's visit to New Delhi from Wednesday to participate in the fourth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit.

"Our military people are positive about military cooperation and exchange of visits with India. I think China and India are strategic partners...military exchanges and cooperation are part of the partnership," Sun said.

India had suspended military exchanges with China in August 2010 after it refused to grant permission to a senior army commander posted at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir to proceed on an official trip to Beijing.

As an immediate fallout of the event, India had refused to hold the third round of military exercise, codenamed Hand-in-Hand, with China and put all other military exchanges on hold.

The first edition of the exercise had taken place in Kunming in China in 2007 and the second was held in Belgaum in 2008.

Putting an end to the strained military relations, India had sent a military delegation to Beijing in June last year. China also reciprocated by sending its military delegation under a Lieutenant General in last November.

PTI