06:11 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Chinese soldier (L) gesturing next to an Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India's northeastern Sikkim state. (File)

    India, China to Expand Military Cooperation Year After Border Standoff

    © AFP 2019 / Diptendu DUTTA
    Asia & Pacific
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    The defense ministers of India and China have met a year after a bitter standoff at Doklam. Both countries have decided to expand the scope of engagement between the two militaries in areas concerning training, joint exercises and other professional interactions, the Indian government said in a statement.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): India gave a ceremonial welcome to the Chinese defense minister and state councilor, Wei Fenghe, on his arrival in New Delhi for talks with his counterpart, Nirmala Sitharaman. The delegation level talks, which exceeded the schedule by more than an hour on Thursday, yielded more than anyone expected.

    The two countries decided to expand "the engagement between their armed forces relating to training, joint exercises and other professional interactions," a statement by the Indian Defense Ministry read.

    India also asked the Chinese side to enhance "port calls" – stops for a ship on its scheduled journey for unloading and loading of cargo or taking on supplies or fuel — a major step to building up trust, which has been marred by suspicion due to increased patrolling by Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean region in the past few years.

    "The Indian Defense Minister also proposed that China should have more interactions among the chiefs of forces at regular intervals," according to sources.

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    The 27-member Chinese delegation consisted of key military officials, including Vice Chief of the Central Military Commission Air Marshal Dingqui Chang and Lieutenant General Guiqing Rong, vice commander of the Western Theatre Command, which handles the entire border with India.

    "Both sides also decided to work towards a new bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defense exchanges and cooperation to replace the MoU signed in 2006," the Indian Defense Ministry statement added.

    India also conveyed to China that border area development activities should not be treated as suspicious — an idea that was aptly reciprocated by China.

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    Tags:
    border conflict, military delegation, military cooperation, development, talks, Chinese Armed Forces, Indian Army, Wei Fenghe, Nirmala Sitharaman, India, China
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