India and china have decided to resume joint military exercises to repose faith in each other’s defence preparedness.
Ironically, the move came at a time when India and Pakistan were turning belligerent with killings of soldiers on both sides in small skirmishes.
The first two rounds of joint military exercises were held in 2007 in Kunming, Yunnan region of China and in 2008 in Belgaum near Bangalore.
Unlike the failed Flag Meetings between India and Pakistan, the fifth annual defence dialogue with Beijing proved fruitful on Monday with the two Asian giants agreeing to joint military exercises, especially in view of China’s strained relations with its Southeast Asian neighbours.
The Indian delegation led by Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma reached the agreement with his Chinese counterpart Deputy Chief of General Staff General Qi Jianquo.
The military exercises were stalled in 2010 following Beijing’s refusal to issue a visa to the then head of the Northern Indian command, Lt. Gen. B. S. Jaswal. Even China’s practice of issuing stapled visas to Indians from Jammu and Kashmir infuriated New Delhi.
Now that China has agreed to issue regular visas to J&K residents, ties began to improve. “The two sides reviewed the ongoing measures to maintain peace and tranquility on the Line of Actual Control (LAC),” the Indian Defence Ministry said in a press release on Monday. “The two sides agreed upon a plan of bilateral military exchanges for 2013 which includes conduct of the next joint military exercise,” the statement said.