BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: A delegation of the Indian Army is going to visit Beijing next month to resume a year-long pending military-to-military ties. Notably, this meeting is in addition to the annual defence dialogue (ADD) scheduled to be held between India and China next year.
This year’s AAD, which was to be chaired by defence secretary Pradeep Kumar and his Chinese counterpart Ma Xiaotian, has been delayed since there “were some problems with scheduling it earlier”, said a defence ministry official on yesterday.
Rejecting reports that the ADD had been canceled, he said, “Schedules were packed on the Indian side because of several engagements, including talks with Pakistan. Extensive consultations are in progress with China now to arrive at a mutually-acceptable date for the ADD later this year.”
India had put bilateral defence exchanges with China on hold since July last year after Beijing refused “a proper stamped visa” to the then Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General B S Jaswal since he headed troops in Jammu and Kashmir.
But the freeze is set to be over now, with another senior Indian officer, Major-General Gurmeet Singh, also serving in J&K, to lead a delegation to China from June 19 to 23. Maj-Gen Singh is the commander of the Delta Force, a part of the specialised anti-insurgency Rashtriya Rifles deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.
The two sides, however, are yet to decide on when and where the third edition of their joint ‘hand-in-hand’ (HiH) army exercise should take place this year. The first HiH exercise was held at Kunming in China in December 2007, while the second one took place at the Belgaum commando school in Karnataka in December 2008.
Though the HiH exercises have so far been largely symbolic in nature, with just over 100 soldiers participating from each side, they are seen to be an important CBM between the two countries which fought a bloody war in 1962.