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Chinese DM kicks off three-day India trip

By Xu Tianran (Global Times)

15:12, September 04, 2012

Defense Minister Liang Guanglie arrived in India for a three-day-trip, marking the highest-level Chinese defense visit to India in eight years.

According to China's Ministry of National Defense, in his first visit to India since he became defense minister, Liang and his delegation will meet his Indian counterpart AK Antony. The two sides are expected to discuss issues such as joint military exercises and border security.

Antony said they may announce a new round of joint military exercises, building on a recent joint naval drill in Shanghai, Reuters reported.

The two sides are also expected to discuss their relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the security challenges they face when NATO forces start leaving the region in 2014, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

As the two biggest developing countries in the world, China and India are not rivals and military exchanges between them do not match the increase in Sino-Indian trade and political exchanges, Liang said during his earlier visit to Sri Lanka, dismissing the "China Threat Theory."

Beijing's increasingly close ties with South Asia are aimed at ensuring regional "security and stability" and are not intended to harm any "third party," he stated.

According to Sun Shihai, a member of the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, the Sino-Indian relationship is moving forward despite difficulties in the past. "For two giant powers with geographical proximity, problems and disputes are inevitable. But if compared with 20 years ago, you'll find overwhelming progress made in the fields of economy and cultural exchanges, security and border issues," he said.

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