New Delhi: Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma will lead a delegation to China next month to discuss the resumption of military exercises between the armed forces of the two countries. The Defenece Secretary will head a tri-services delegation to China on January 14-15 as part of the 5th Annual Defence Dialogue between the two sides, Ministry officials said here today.
During the visit of Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie to India in September, the two sides had agreed to resume their bilateral military exercises in 2013 and increase defence exchanges. During his meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Defence Minister AK Antony had accepted an invitation from Liang to visit Beijing next year.
Military exercises between the two countries had started in 2007 but were put on hold in 2010 after a series of hiccups in the defence ties between the two sides. The first exercise was held in Kunming, China in 2007 and the second in Belgaum in India in 2008. The third edition was to have been held in China in 2010 but got stalled.
After the denial of visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal by the Chinese in 2010, New Delhi had frozen all bilateral defence exchanges with Beijing. The defence exchanges were revived in the recent times but there have been still some hiccups as China has been refusing to grant visas to armed forces officers from Arunachal Pradesh-- an Indian state over which China lays its claim.
The two countries have also operationalised mechanisms to prevent any face-off between their armed forces along the over 4,000-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) apart from coordinating in high seas in the Gulf of Aden to tackle piracy.