India, China to raise mutual trust between armed forces

Modi, Xi agree to put in place more measures to maintain peace and avert flashpoints along disputed boundary till settlement of row.

PM Modi-Xi at informal summit (DH Photo)

India and China on Saturday agreed to put in place more measures to enhance mutual trust among the armed forces of the two nations as well as to maintain peace along the disputed boundary between the two nations.  

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded the two-day “informal summit” at Kovalam near Chennai, the two sides agreed to “consolidate strategic communication” between the armed forces of the two nations, ostensibly to avert occasional flashpoints along the Line of Actual Control, which serves as the de facto border between the two nations in the absence of a settled boundary.     

“Both sides agreed to consolidate the strategic communication to enhance it at all levels to talk and share about any issue including between the two militaries,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told journalists shortly after Prime Minister and Chinese President led the respective delegations of officials for talks, which was the last engagement of the two-day “informal summit”. 

The Chinese Government has invited Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to visit Beijing for a meeting with his counterpart Wei Fenghe, said Gokhale.

The meeting between Singh and Wei are likely to give final shape to the measures both sides will put in place to raise mutual trust among the armed forces of the two neighbours.

India and China had a 72-day-military stand-off at Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan in June-August 2017. With both sides having differing perceptions about the alignment of the border, the border guards of the two nations, as well as personnel of the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, often transgress into the territory claimed by each other.

Prime Minister and Chinese President reviewed the ongoing exchanges and cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries.

Xi, himself, conveyed to Modi that both sides should step up military-to-military engagements.  

They lauded the work of the two governments’ Special Representatives for boundary negotiations.

Modi’s National Security Advisor is currently the Special Representative of India for boundary negotiations with China. Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi is his counterpart. The two Special Representatives held the 21st round of negotiations at Sichuan in China in November 2018. They were expected to hold the 22nd round in New Delhi last month, but it was postponed. Prime Minister and Chinese President asked the Special Representatives of the two nations to continue efforts to arrive at “a mutually-agreed framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement” based on the “Political Parameters and Guiding Principles”, which were agreed upon in 2005.

“They (Modi and Xi) reiterated their understanding that efforts will continue to be made to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas, and that both sides will continue to work on additional Confidence Building Measures in pursuit of this objective,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press-release issued after the “informal summit”.

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