China, India for new version of decade-old defence pact

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Beijing, Aug 30 (IANS) China and India are in touch for a new version of a 12-year-old MoU on defence and setting up a hotline between their Defence ministries, Beijing said on Thursday.

The Chinese Defence Ministry said that during its Defence Minister Wei Fenghe’s four-day India visit, both sides discussed in detail to implement the points agreed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at their Wuhan meet in April.

“In 2006, India and China signed an MoU on defence exchanges and cooperation. The Indian side conveyed its willingness to sign a new version of the MoU. China holds a positive attitude towards it and the two sides are in communication with each other,” Defence Ministry spokesperson Colonel Wu Qian said.

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The pact was signed to have bilateral exchanges between the officials of the Defence ministries and organise an annual defence dialogue and holding joint military exchanges among others.

“They specifically talked about setting up an exchange mechanism for visits between the two Defence ministries, set up a direct confidential phone line between the two Defence ministries, strengthening exchanges at all levels including Defence authorities, theatre commands and different services.

“They also talked about setting up a hotline on border issues between adjacent military commands. They also talked about how to better play the role of defence and security consultations mechanism and the meeting mechanism between the working delegations of the Defence ministries,” Wu said.

India and China almost came to a showdown when their militaries faced off each other at Doklam near their border last year. The stand-off lasted for 73 day days.

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Both countries want to set up a hotline between them to avert the Doklam-like crisis. Asked what is delaying the hotline, he said the details were being worked out.

–IANS

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