Parrikar to visit China to enhance defence cooperation


As India and China seek to gather momentum in the bilateral relations, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will be visiting China next month to enhance defence cooperation. China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao visited India in November 2015, which was followed by India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh visit to China. The visit of Mr Parrikar is the testimony to the fact that both countries have increased high-level engagement in recent times.

Mr Parrikar is expected to leave on April 18 for a three-day visit to China, during which the two sides is likely to discuss the effective implementation of the bilateral border defence cooperation agreement (BDCA) signed in October 2013, and setting up of a hotline between the army headquarters of both countries. The focus will largely remain on enhancing cooperation in the defence sector.

Mr Parrikar will visit China after his meeting with US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter in India. Mr Carter is scheduled to visit India in April. The Obama administration, which has been focusing on a rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, wants India to play a larger role in the region. China’s growing assertion in the region has led to the US bolstering its alliances with India, Japan and Australia.

The South China Sea dispute has been gaining international traction, and India has also made its stand clear on the issue by insisting on freedom of navigation in the region as per international law. However, Mr Parrikar’s visit is unlikely to focus on this issue as the two countries will focus on bilateral issues.

The relations between India and China have been relatively stable in recent times despite sporadic “troop transgressions” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The two countries have increased engagement process through regular high-level visits.


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