India and China have decided to step up their military exchanges as the two countries held their annual defence and security dialogue in Beijing after a gap of one year due to Doklam military standoff in 2017.
The meeting held on November 13 in Beijing was co-chaired by Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Deputy Chief of Joint Staff Department of Central Military Commission Shao Yuanminga, a statement issued by the Indian embassy in Beijing today said.
At the 9th edition of the dialogue two countries agreed for increasing defence exchanges and interactions at different levels between the two militaries, the statement said. After the talks, Mr Mitra called on Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe on Wednesday.
The annual dialogue did not take place last year following the 73-day standoff between the two armies at India-Tibet-Bhutan tri-junction at Doklam.
The tussle that had begun on June 16, 2017 was triggered by the Chinese Army's plan to build a road in Doklam, close to the a narrow strip of land that connects India's North Eastern states with the mainland referred to as the "Chicken's Neck". Bhutan, Himalayan country wedged between India and China, opposed the road construction. India too opposed the construction activity as it was seen an effort by the Chinese to alter the status quo at the tri-junction.
The standoff ended when Chinese troops stopped the road construction after which both countries stepped up efforts to normalise relations that led to an informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at the Chinese city of Wuhan in April. The two sides have agreed for a slew of measures aimed at building mutual trust at the summit.
The defence dialogue took place ahead of the 21st round of border talks between the Special Representatives of the two countries in in Dujiangyan in China on November 23-24. India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will lead their respective delegations at the talks. The armies of two countries are also expected to resume a military drill after a gap of one year next month.
"Both sides underlined the importance of this Dialogue as an important mechanism between the two countries for consultations on defence 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," the embassy statement said.
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