NEW DELHI — India and China discussed reviving military exercises Jan. 14, stalled since 2010, and increasing military exchanges during the Third India-China Annual Defence Dialogue in Beijing, said an Indian Defence Ministry official.
India and China held their first military exercise in 2007 in China followed by another in 2008 in India. The planned military exercise in 2010, however, was stalled after China denied a visa to an Indian Army commander.
Indian Defence Secretary Shahsikant Sharma led the Indian delegation at the Jan. 14 Third India-China Annual Defence Dialogue, while the Chinese deputy chief of the General Staff, Gen. Qi Jianguo, led the Chinese side.
“Both sides agreed to expand and enhance bilateral exchanges covering the Army, Navy and Air Force of both countries,” says an Indian Defence Ministry release.
The two sides also discussed regional and international issues of common interests, including potential hotspots in the Asia-Pacific region and in the India-China border areas, adds the release.
India and Vietnam are jointly working on exploiting energy resources in South China Sea, which is not to the liking of Beijing.
Early this year, the Indian Navy chief, Adm. D.K. Joshi, said that Beijing’s growing maritime strength was a “major, major cause for concern,” and pledged to support a state energy firm in its contentious search for oil in the South China Sea.
“It is actually a major, major cause of concern for us, which we continuously evaluate and work out our options and our strategies for,” Joshi had said.
India and China fought a brief battle in 1962 over border issues and have held a series of talks to resolve the issue. The dispute between the two countries involves the longest contested boundary in the world. China claims 92,000 square kilometers of Indian territory.
The border between India and China is currently defined by a 4,056-kilometer Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is neither marked on the ground nor on mutually acceptable maps. Efforts to have a recognized LAC since the mid 1980s have made little headway.
The Jan. 14 meeting also discussed the border issue.
“The two sides reviewed the ongoing measures to maintain peace and tranquility on the Line of Actual Control (LAC),” the release says.