Manohar Parrikar Arrives In Shanghai On First Visit To China

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Beijing: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrived in Shanghai on Saturday on his first visit to China to shore up defence ties amid strains in bilateral relations over Beijing’s move to block India’s attempts in the UN to ban Pakistan-based terror group JeM chief Masood Azhar.

He is the first Indian Defence Minister to visit China in three years. His predecessor A K Antony visited China in 2013.

During his four-day visit, he is expected to hold talks with top Chinese leaders and Defence officials and meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Officials say during his visit he will also visit Chengdu Military Area Command which looks after the border with India.

Mr Parrikar accompanied by a high-level delegation arrived by regular Air India flight.

He will arrive in Beijing today after addressing a get-together of Indian professionals based in Shanghai being organised by the Indian Association.

He is scheduled to hold talks with top Chinese defence officials on Monday.

Indian officials said while no agreements were expected to be signed during Mr Parrikar’s visit, it is aimed at firming up defence ties.

His visit follows high-level visits by top Chinese defence officials including the highest ranking Chinese General Fan Changlong, the Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission (CMC) to India last year.

CMC headed by President Xi Jinping is the overall commanding authority of China’s 2.3 million armed forces.

In the last two years, defence cooperation between the two countries has been enhanced with high-level interactions.

Both sides had also set up Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to discuss the issue of incursions along the 3,488-km long disputed border.

Officials on both sides acknowledge that it helped to address the tensions.

His talks with Chinese defence officials will be immediately followed by the visit of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who would be attend the 19th boundary talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

Doval and Yang, who are designated Special Representatives for boundary talks, also have a mandate to discuss entire gamut of bilateral issues.

China’s decision to block India’s move to ban Azhar in UN for his alleged role in Pathankot terrorist attack is expected to figure in their talks.

PTI

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