03:38 GMT +324 October 2018
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    India, China Resume Maritime Dialogue Amid Perceived Tussle in Indian Ocean

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    This will be India’s second maritime dialogue with China; the first such dialogue was held in February 2016 in New Delhi. The second one, originally scheduled for 2017 had to be called off owing to the standoff between the India and China at the Doklam plateau.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India is scheduled to hold a maritime affairs dialogue with China and Russia very soon. According to government sources, the meetings with Russia and China will be held separately; with the China talks likely to come first.

    "Dates for the dialogue with the Chinese officials are being finalized," an official who did not wish to be named said.

    The maritime affairs dialogue comes amid speculations that Chinese naval forces have been threatening the Indian Navy's dominance in the Indian Ocean Region.

    ​However, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the Shangri-La Dialogue in June this year, surprising western powers by avoiding mentioning the "Quad" which many consider as a grouping of India, US, Japan and Australia to counter the so-called Chinese threat in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, there were speculations that India and China would be making efforts to iron out differences on the maritime front.

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     "We have not been critical of Chinese posture. We just want rules-based order in the Indian Ocean. The Chinese president welcomed the speech by PM Modi at Shangri-La," an Indian official said on Wednesday.

    The maiden Indo-China maritime dialogue in 2016 covered issues of mutual interest, including, exchange of perspectives on maritime security, developments in international regimes such as United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) and prospects for maritime cooperation. Last year, the second maritime affairs meeting was scheduled to be held in Beijing but due to the Doklam stand-off, the dialogue was called off.  

    The announcement to hold a second maritime affairs dialogue is in sync with the Wuhan declaration that was released after the informal meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April this year.

    "Both leaders agreed on a need to strengthen strategic communication through greater consultation on all matters of common interest. They believe that such strategic communication will have a positive influence on enhancing mutual understanding and will contribute to regional and global stability," the joint press release issued after the Wuhan informal summit read.

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     Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe is soon expected in New Delhi to hold bilateral discussions with his Indian counterpart.  

    At present, a high-level Chinese People's Liberation Army delegation is currently touring India and is scheduled to meet the Indian Army's eastern command in Sukna, West Bengal. The primary agenda of the meeting will be the establishment of a hotline contact between the militaries of the two countries.

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    Tags:
    maritime missions, border conflict, bilateral cooperation, resolution, dialogue, Indian Army, Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Narendra Modi, India, China, Indian Ocean
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