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English>>China Military

China, India to resume joint army drills after 4-year hiatus

By Liao Zhengjun in New Delhi and Hao Zhou in Beijing (Global Times)

08:30, September 05, 2012

Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie (center) shakes hands with Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony (right) in New Delhi, India, yesterday. The two defense ministers will discuss resuming regular bilateral military ties.(Shanghai Daily Photo)

China and India announced on Tuesday that the two biggest developing nations would resume joint military exercises after a four-year suspension due to a visa spat, after a meeting between the nations' defense chiefs in New Delhi.

During the first visit to India by a Chinese defense Minister in eight years, Liang Guanglie and his Indian counterpart A.K. Antony reached many consensuses in their talks, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Liang said, "I had a candid and practical discussion with the defense minister."

"We covered a lot about the situation in the South Asia, Asia-Pacific region," Antony told reporters after the meeting. "We had a very frank and heart-to-heart discussion on all the issues ... including in the border areas."

Antony said the joint exercises will resume "at the earliest," without giving any timeline, Reuters reported.

The two neighbors held two rounds of joint military maneuvers, dubbed "Hand-in-hand," in 2007 and 2008, and the third was put off due to diplomatic spats over visas for Indian military officers from the so-called Arunachal Pradesh area.

Liang's three-day visit came at a time when the US seeks to forge closer ties with India by hinting that Washington was considering offering India more advanced weapons.

India is concerned about China's military infrastructure buildup along the border areas and in response demands bigger defense budgets to offset China's rising power.

However, Liang said that China and India can only benefit from a peaceful relationship between them.

China always holds a positive attitude toward promoting exchanges and cooperation between the two armed forces and is willing to work with India to increase mutual trust, Liang said.

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