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Indian Defence Secretary to visit China

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India’s Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar is expected to visit China from January 6 to hold dialogue with the Chinese military leadership to discuss the long-pending border issue, steps to improve coordination along the Line of Actual Control and increasing bilateral military cooperation.

In the first-ever visit by an Indian Defence Secretary to Beijing, Kumar is likely to be accompanied by senior Army officials from Eastern Command which looks after the Chinese border in the northeast, Defence Ministry sources said.

During the visit, which comes in the backdrop of recent military incursions by the Chinese PLA along the LAC, Kumar is expected to hold meetings with the top Chinese military leadership and is likely to discuss some new confidence building measures, the long-pending boundary dispute and steps to improve coordination along the LAC, they added.

The two sides are also likely to discuss about holding joint exercises between the militaries of the two countries.

The Armies of the two countries have already held two rounds of 'Hand-in-Hand' series of joint exercises. The first exercise was held in December 2007 in Kunming province in China and the second was held in Belgaum in Karnataka in December 2008.

India and China had agreed to hold Defence Secretary-level dialogue around three years ago but the talks started only after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to China 2008.

In December 2008, Chinese People's Liberation Army's Deputy Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Ma Xiaotian had visited India and met then Defence Secretary Vijay Singh.

To improve the ties between the two sides along the LAC after the recent incursions into Indian territory, GOC-in-C of Eastern Command Lt Gen V K Singh had visited Tibet along with a senior officer from the Central Command and it was followed by the visit of the Chinese military commander in Tibet to the Eastern Command in Kolkata.

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