Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday kicked off his first visit to China by holding talks with Chinese counterpart Gen Chang Wanquan in Beijing, stating that India attaches highest priority to its relationship with China and is committed to further develop the ties.
"India attaches highest priority to relations with China and committed to further developing friendly and cooperative relations," Parrikar told Chang in his opening remarks before the two delegations started the talks.
Parrikar was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the headquarters of the Chinese military in Beijing by a contingent of People’s Liberation Army soldiers.
Welcoming Parrikar, Wang said, “Hope your visit will improve strategic mutual trust between the two armed forces.”
After his meeting with Wang, Parrikar will hold talks with Gen Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.
In Chinese military hierarchy Gen Fan is ranked higher, as the CMC is overall head of the 2.3-million-strong PLA.
He is also due to call on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and visit China’s recently integrated western command military headquarters in Chengdu which has jurisdiction over entire borders with India.
During Parrikar’s talks on Monday with top Chinese military officials, recurring incidents of incursions, implementation of an agreement to reduce tensions between border patrols and Sino-India strategic concerns are expected to figure.
While Indian officials said the talks were expected to review the whole gamut of bilateral ties, India’s concerns over aggressive patrolling by Chinese troops especially in the Ladakh sector remains high.
China denies any incursions, asserting its troops patrol areas within its territory along the 3,488-km disputed border.
The two militaries also have strategic concerns over each other’s military tie-ups with other countries.
Ahead of Parrikar’s visit, China hinted that it may take up the recent decision by India to open up military bases to the United States for logistics and efforts to conclude a pact to share aircraft sharing technologies.