This Article is From Dec 09, 2011

India, China hold annual defence dialogue

New Delhi: The fourth round of India China Annual Defence Dialogue was held in New Delhi today with both sides discussing a "wide range" of issues in a "cordial atmosphere".

"The talks were held in cordial atmosphere and both sides discussed a wide range of issues. The discussions were constructive in nature," a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

The Chinese delegation is led by the most visible face of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), Lieutenant General Ma Xiaotian. The Indian delegation is led by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma.

The meeting lasted for over three hours and the two sides expressed their constructive view point on a number of issues. A Defence Ministry spokesperson told NDTV that mid-level Chinese delegation will be India this month while a similar Indian delegation will visit China next month. They are expected to discuss exchange of military personnel to each other institutions. Sources also told NDTV that India has also requested China to consider relocating some of the border post along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). China, it is understood, has agreed to consider the request. No military exercises between the countries have been agreed.The last round of Sino-Indian defence dialogue had taken place in Beijing in January 2010.

India-China ties have been strained over Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. China had recently protested against the Dalai Lama being invited to deliver a valedictory lecture at the International Buddhist Congregation held in Kolkata. Following this controversy the India-China special representative's dialogue on border issues was suspended last month.

China, in the past few weeks, has also objected to India's oil and natural gas exploration in the South China Sea. India, on its part, has refused to suspend the exploration activities. The continuous alleged border transgression along the India-China border in south-eastern Ladakh is also a major irritant. Adding to the unease, Chinese Premier Hu Jintao has recently asked the Navy wing of the PLA to prepare for war, leaving New Delhi wary.

The Defence dialogue was suspended in 2010 when China questioned the status of Jammu and Kashmir and refused to give a visa the then Northern Army Commander, Lieutenant General B S Jaswal. New Delhi had lodged a strong protest leading to suspension of the dialogue.

The Chinese delegation will meet Defence Minister AK Antony, followed by a meeting with the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma.

While no major breakthrough is expected from this round of the talks, both sides are expected to discuss confidence building measures along the border and restarting military exercises. The last military between the two countries, codenamed "Hand-in-Hand", was held in 2008 at Belgaum in Karnataka. The first edition of the exercise had taken place in Kunming in China in 2007.