India and China hold 9th Annual Defence and Security Dialogue in Beijing after one-year gap.

India and China hold 9th Annual Defence and Security Dialogue in Beijing after a one-year gap.

November 17, 2018.

India and China held the ninth Annual Defence and Security Dialogue here due to the Doklam standoff after a one-year gap, as both the nations agreed to increase military exchanges and interactions. The Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and China’s Deputy Chief of Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission headed the dialogue on November 13. A press release by the Indian Embassy here said on Thursday that the talks both sides agreed on enhancing defense exchanges and interactions at different levels between the two militaries.

Mitra called on Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe after the talks on Wednesday. Senior officials of the ministry of defense and Indian Army, Navy and Air Force have also accompanied Mr. Mitra. Keeping in view the 73-day tense standoff between the two militaries at Doklam, which was triggered by the Chinese PLA’s plan to build a road close to the narrow Chicken’s Neck corridor connecting India’s northeastern states in an area also claimed by Bhutan besides China, the annual dialogue did not take place last year.

When Chinese troops stopped the road construction and the standoff ended after which both the nations started efforts to normalize relations leading to the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in April this year. Ahead of the 21st round of border talks between the Special delegates of the two nations, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi,  in the Chinese city of Dujiangyan on November 23-24, a defense dialogue was also held. The border talks not only focused on discussions on other aspects of India China relations but efforts to work out a solution to resolve the boundary dispute spanning 3,488 km also.

After a gap of one year, the two militaries are due to hold the annual ‘Hand-in-Hand’ drills also next month in China. Besides this, both sides also agreed on specific defense exchanges for 2019.

The Indian Embassy press release said, “Both sides agreed to enhance exchanges and interactions through reciprocal high-level visits between the two ministries of defense as well as between military commands, joint training exercises, mutual visits by defense personnel including mid-level and cadet officers were also agreed upon.”

It also said, “Both sides underlined the importance of this dialogue as an important mechanism between the two countries for consultations on defense and security matters. They emphasized the need to further strengthen military-to-military ties in order to strengthen political and strategic mutual trust between the two countries.”

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