China, India seek stronger military ties

Updated: 2014-07-03 21:27


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BEIJING - Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Fan Changlong met with Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh in Beijing on Thursday.

Singh is the first Indian Army Chief to visit China since 2005. His visit, which comes after the new Indian government took office in late May, is regarded as a positive signal from India to interact with China's political and military leaders.

Fan said China and India have maintained good momentum in developing bilateral relations in recent years and called on the two militaries to take the occasion as an opportunity to advance military-to-military ties.

Fan proposed that the two militaries strengthen strategic mutual trust, practical cooperation and properly manage differences.

"Our common interests far outweigh our differences," Fan said. "Both countries have sufficient wisdom and capability to deal with historical problems."

Singh called on the two countries to cash in on common interests in developing a mutually supportive relationship. He said communication and interaction between the militaries is important for ensuring peace and tranquility in border areas.

Singh, also chair of the committee of chiefs of staff of the Indian armed forces, is on a China visit from July 2 to 5. He held talks with Fang Fenghui, Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), before meeting with Fan.

Fang hailed the sound foundation for the relationship between the two militaries. China is willing to work with India to uphold the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, enhance high-level military exchanges and communication to increase mutual trust and reduce suspicion, Fang said.

He suggested both sides expand cooperation in joint exercises, peacekeeping, anti-terrorism, escort missions, personnel training and think tank exchanges.

"Both sides should strengthen border control to prevent disruptions to the broader military-to-military relationship and bilateral ties," Fang said.

Thanking China for its hospitality, Singh said India and China are not rivals and that India is willing to deepen communication and cooperation with China and further the military relationship.

Prior to the talks, Fang held a welcome ceremony for Singh and accompanied him in inspecting the guards of honor of the PLA.

Boundary issues were also touched upon during a Chinese and Indian leaders' meeting last week. China is willing to hold peaceful negotiations with India to properly resolve their boundary issues to jointly maintain regional peace and stability, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.

Ansari was in Beijing to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.