Antony-Liang talks focus on improving relations in border areas

While agreeing to enhance and maintain peace and tranquillity in their border areas, India and China on Tuesday also decided to conduct the next round of joint military exercises at the earliest.

On the first visit by a Chinese Defence Minister to New Delhi in eight years, General Liang Guanglie and his Indian counterpart A. K. Antony discussed a wide range of issues relating to defence and military exchanges and cooperation.

“Talks fruitful”

The two sides also agreed to strengthen border security cooperation between the border troops so as to enhance and maintain peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas. Mr. Antony described the 90-minute delegation level talks as “very fruitful” and said that he has accepted the invitation by General Liang to visit Beijing next year.

He said that during the talks, the two sides held discussions about “improving relations at the border areas and the situation in the South Asia and Asia Pacific region.”

“We have reached the very important consensus of further promoting the friendly, strategic and cooperated partnership between the two countries and promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two armed forces,” General Liang told reporters through an interpreter outside South Block which houses the offices of the Defence Ministry. He said India and China should make the most of the opportunity presented by the year of “friendship and cooperation” between them in 2012.

In a statement, a Defence Minister spokesperson said the two sides decided to strengthen the high level exchanges between the two defence ministries and armed forces of both the sides. “They also decided to promote exchange visits by personnel at different levels and in various fields. The two countries will strengthen exchanges in personnel training, academic research and cooperation between educational institutions of the Armed Forces of both sides,” it said.

It said that the two ministers, at the delegation level talks, discussed the regional security situation and international issues of common interests and concern. It said the two defence ministers agreed to work together to enhance mutual trust in the security field and continue to maintain peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas.