India and China are in talks over resuming the annual defence dialogue, with the Chinese side expressing interest in sending a high-level delegation, said officials.
The two countries are finalising dates for the dialogue, which is expected to take place following an Indian military delegation's visit to Beijing later this month. The delegation's visit will mark the resumption of defence exchanges, suspended since last July.
The Indian embassy in Beijing on Tuesday denied media reports that New Delhi had objected to hosting the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Deputy Chief of General Staff Ma Xiaotian.
The embassy said the reports were “factually inaccurate”, and the two sides were still discussing dates for the fourth round of the annual defence dialogue. The Chinese side had expressed interest in sending a delegation led by General Ma.
The previous round of the dialogue was held in Beijing in January 2010 between Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and General Ma. The two sides had agreed to “increase consensus” and push forward exchanges “on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust”.
Defence exchanges were, however, suspended last July, when China refused to issue a visa to the then head of the Northern Command, Lieutenant-General B.S. Jaswal, saying the “sensitive region” of Kashmir was under his charge.
India agreed to resume defence ties following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China in April, when he attended the BRICS summit in Sanya, in Hainan province.
Chinese officials agreed to host a delegation of officials, including an officer of Major-General rank from the Northern Command.
The delegation is scheduled to visit Beijing later this month.
Keywords: India-China ties