India-China to resume army exercises from next yr

New Delhi: India and China are expected to resume their bilateral military exercises from next year and a decision in this regard is likely to be taken during the five-day visit of Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie.

During Gen Liang`s visit starting Monday next week, the two sides will discuss about having more Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and ways of strengthening their military ties, a senior official of the Defence Ministry said here.

"We are planning to resume the army-to-army exercise `Hand-in-Hand` from next year and a final decision in this regard would be taken at the meeting between Gen Liang Guanglie and his Indian counterpart A K Antony," the official said.

Military exercises between the two countries had started in 2007 but were put on hold after a series of hiccups in the defence ties between the two sides.

The first exercise was held in Kunming, China in 2007 whereas the second was held in India at Belgaum in 2008.

After the denial of visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal by the Chinese in 2010, New Delhi froze all bilateral defence exchanges with Beijing.

Though the defence exchanges have re-started, there are still some problems like China declining to issue visa to an IAF officer belonging to Arunachal Pradesh.

After reaching Mumbai on September 2 with his 23-member delegation, Gen Liang will visit the Gandhi Museum there. He will also visit Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar.

A Defence Minister-level visit to China from India had last taken place in May, 2006. Gen Liang`s visit will be the first by a Chinese Defence Minister to India since Gen Cao Gangchuan`s visited here in March, 2004.