Army Chief General Bikram Singh's Rare China Visit Begins From Wednesday

Army Chief General Bikram Singh's Rare China Visit Begins From Wednesday

File photo Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh.

Beijing, China:  Army Chief General Bikram Singh will be in China on a rare visit from Wednesday July 2 to July 5 during which he will hold talks with the 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. 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 the Army, Navy and the Air Force.

General Singh's talks are expected to be focused on firming up ties between the two militaries at the level of headquarters, Command levels as well as 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.

General Singh will also meet top officials of Chinese Foreign Ministry and address the 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 in Beijing.

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, Mr Yang said.

Mr Yang said that the two sides are in communication to arrange the activities, which will include 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 follows that of Vice President Hamid Ansari, whose five day visit to China concludes on Monday.

Mr Ansari attended the 60th year celebrations of Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence and held talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday and is set to meet President Xi on Monday.

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) counter-terrorism exercise between the two armies later this year. Both countries have held three military exercises so far.

Story First Published: June 29, 2014 21:49 IST

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