On August 21, 2018, the Defence Minister of China Lieutenant General Wei Fenghe visited New Delhi for an official visit for 4 days till August 24, 2018.
- Fenghe was leading a 24-member delegation from China to India- the first high level one after the 73 day-long Doklam military standoff.
- This visit comes on the backdrop of the Wuhan informal summit between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2018.
- This will be the second meeting this year between the defence ministers after their meeting during the defence ministers’ meeting of theShanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in April.
It is a full-fledged bilateral visit aimed at solidifying military ties.
Following are the areas of discussion/meetings held on his visit:
PM Modi met Chinese Defence minister to deepen cooperation and to build trust:
On August 21, 2018, Minister General Wei Fenghe called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed military and defence issues.
- Focus on strengthening the communication and building trust among the militaries and maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border were discussed.
- India, China agreed to deepen defence cooperation to avoid Doklam-like standoffs and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between their militaries so as to jointly safeguard border stability
Meeting of Defence Minister of China with Defence Minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman on military exchange and cooperation between the armies of the two countries:
On August 22, 2018, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe held extensive talks on military cooperation and exchanges.
- The two sides are likely to deploy troops from both sides informing each other before carrying out any patrolling on the disputed areas along the 3488-km border.
- To resolve differences in setting up of a hotline between the armies of the two countries has been suggested.
- Further as per the meeting with the PM Narendra Modi, engagement between their Armed Forces relating to training, joint exercises and other professional interactions were decided.
- Both sides also decided to work towards a new bilateral MoU on Defence Exchanges and Cooperation to replace the MoU signed in 2006.
- Setting up additional Border Meeting Points (BPM) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were decided.
- Restart of ‘Hand in Hand’ anti-terrorist exercise was also discussed.
- The issue of USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which is passing through Pakistan-occupied was also brought up.
- India’s views on cross-border terrorism, bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan and the need for ensuring freedom of navigation in South China Sea were discussed.
- On August 23, 2018, General Fenghe was accorded guard of honour at the south block in the national capital.
- He toured the National Museum in Delhi, where he worshipped the relics of Buddha and saw different Indian art forms ranging from the Harappan civilisation, Maurya, Shunga and Satvahana Art, Decorative arts, Bronze sculptures and Buddhist Art.
- He arrived at the museum with a team of about 36 people, including Indian and Chinese officials.
- This visit comes in the backdrop of steady improvement of relations between the two countries.
- General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Command of the Indian Army, Lieutenant General Abhay Krishna visited China from August 15 to 19.
Doklam, in the Sikkim sector, is a strategically important area which is claimed by Bhutan. India has been acting as security guarantor to the tiny country in the sensitive region.
♦ Capital: Beijing.
♦ Currency: Renminbi,
♦ Prime Minister: Li Keqiang.
♦ President: Xi Jinping.