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'India-China militaries should deepen their defence ties'

Beijing, Sep 5, 2012 (PTI)

China should deepen its defence ties with India, as the agreement reached by the two countries to resume joint military exercises still represented a "low level of cooperation," official media said today.

Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie's talks with his Indian counterpart A K Antony yesterday shows an important effort that China made to increase mutual trust and reduce strategic errors, said Ruan Zongze, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies.

But there is still a lot of room to improve the level of exchanges between the two militaries, as the joint exercise themed on anti-terrorism to be resumed next year represents a low level of cooperation, he told state-run China Daily.

In addition to rebuilding military ties, border issues between the two countries are widely believed to be another important subject on the top of Liang's agenda during his visit, the daily said. While the plan to resume the joint exercises marks a warming of military ties, there had been signs in the past several months that indicated the willingness of the two sides to heal their military relations, said Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

"There is the 'China Threat' theory that exists in India, and there are those who play up the threat, either to please the West or pressure neighbouring countries. However, China never treats India as a threat," he said.

Although the border issue remains unresolved, the countries have had 15 rounds of high-level talks and established a number of mechanisms in the border area to keep its peace and stability, Ruan said.

"These measures show the efforts being put into building trust between China and India," he said. Liang arrived in India on Sunday for a visit after his tour to Sri Lanka. He held talks with Antony yesterday. The last stop of his three-nation tour will be Laos.

Yin Zhuo, a Beijing-based military expert, told China Central Television that China and India, both emerging powers, will contribute to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region if they work closer together.

"The two countries bear the same task of developing their economies, and also face the same threats, such as terrorism and trans national crime. Why can they not work together to solve the problems hindering their ties?" Yin said.

"Both countries should draw a lesson from history and realise that neither side will benefit from conflict," Wang Dehua, director of the South Asia Research Center at Shanghai Tongji University, said.

"India also knows about the insincerity of the US," Wang said, adding that Washington had threatened India with penalties if it failed to comply with US sanctions to cut oil imports from Iran.


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