Highest-level Chinese military delegation visits India

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Yao Jianing
2015-11-16 18:01

BEIJING, November 16 (ChinaMil) -- A Chinese military delegation led by Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), arrived in India on November 15, 2015.

Indian media said this is the highest-level Chinese military delegation that has visited India in past 10 years. Soon after, Rajnath Singh will also pay the first visit to China by a home minister in past 10 years, focusing on border, anti-terrorism and security issues.

Qian Feng, councilor of the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, said November 15 that China and India are intensifying their military and security exchanges to stay in step with the development of political and economic relations between the two countries.

Times of India quoted news from the Ministry of Defense November 15 that the 26-member Chinese delegation headed by Fan Changlong will stay in India till November 17.

Britain's Daily Mail commented that senior officers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) seldom visit India, indicating the high-level military officers of both countries are cautious about mutual visits.

In his written speech at the airport in New Delhi, Fan said "My visit mainly aims to implement the consensus reached between our state leaders, to enhance mutual understanding, cooperation and friendship between the two militaries, and to make due contribution towards advancing the common development of the two countries and carrying forward the bilateral friendship."

According to Qian Feng, mutual visits between Chinese and Indian militaries are less frequent in recent years than the intergovernmental exchanges between the two countries.

Military relation is the most sensitive area between any two countries, and China and India are more susceptible to certain emergencies, Qian Feng said.

In 2010, China issued stapled visa to a military delegation stationed in the disputed Kashmir area between India and Pakistan, and India cancelled that delegation's planned visit to China.

This shows that the foundation for military exchange between China and India is week, but the frequency of their mil-to-mil mutual visits is in the normal range.

Neither China nor India published the contents of discussions held on the first day of the visit, but Indian media have tried to discern some information.

The Economic Times, a business newspaper in India, said that the delegation included Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the PLA, and Zhu Fuxi, political commissar of the PLA Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC).

Sun Jianguo used to be an officer at the PLA Navy submarine base and Zhu Fuxi is in charge of military affairs closely related with India.

Times of India quoted an informant as saying that the visit may be to lay the foundation for the 18th meeting of special representatives on China-India border issues and the annual defense dialogue between the two countries.

Qian Feng said the visit will enhance mutual trust and understanding between the two militaries and urge them to jointly safeguard regional security and peace and stability in the border areas.

India's NDTV reported November 15 that in the wake of Fan Changlong's visit to India, Indian home minister Rajnath Singh will start a five-day visit to China on November 19, during which he will visit Beijing and Shanghai. Rajnath Singh will focus on border, anti-terrorism and security issues during this first China visit by an Indian home minister in past 10 years.

The Press Trust of India said since India and China are both faced with terrorism threats, they may discuss how to cope with terrorism on the border.

Times of India reported that Rajnath Singh may ask the Chinese government to cut off the weapon supply chain to armed forces in northeast India that are fighting for national independence.

India has been claiming that the armed forces have been smuggling weapon from China. He will also mention the mechanism to resolve border disputes, including holding regular meetings.

Times of India commented that Rajnath Singh has upheld a tough stance on "border invasion" and insisted on building roads in Ladakh in India-controlled Kashmir and the northeast part of India. He even spent a night recently at the sentry post on India-Tibet border in Ladakh.

According to analysts in India, Rajnath Singh is regarded as being hawkish toward China, and his visit holds more symbolic than realistic meaning. Given the aggravated domestic conflicts and slow progress on domestic reform, Indian politicians hope to alleviate pressure by easing the relations with China.

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