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India, China militaries to set up hotline after Modi-Xi summit: Report

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Beijing, May 2:  The militaries of India and China have reportedly agreed on the long-pending proposal to set up a hotline between their headquarters after the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, the official Chinese media said today.

Modi met Xi last week in an unprecedented two-day ‘heart-to-heart’ summit to “solidify” the India-China relationship.

“Leaders of the two nations have reportedly agreed to set up a hotline between their respective military headquarters,” state-run Global Times daily reported today.

The reported move comes after Modi and Xi agreed to issue “strategic guidance to their respective militaries to  strengthen communication in order to build trust and mutual understanding and enhance predictability and effectiveness in the management of border affairs.”

“The two leaders further directed their militaries to earnestly implement various confidence building measures (CBM) agreed upon between the two sides, including the principle of mutual and equal security, and strengthen existing institutional arrangements and information sharing mechanisms to prevent incidents in border regions,” the Ministry of External Affairs had said in a press release.

The hotline was regarded as a major CBM as it would enable both the headquarters to intensify communication to avert tensions between border patrol in the 3488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) and to avert standoffs like Doklam.

Troops of India and China were locked in the 73-day standoff in Doklam since June 16 last year after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese Army in the disputed area. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The face-off had ended on August 28.

The hotline was under discussion for long but reportedly bogged down over procedures like at what level it should be established in the headquarters. The Chinese military too underwent major reforms initiated by Xi under which its command structures have undergone major changes.

For instance, India and Pakistan have hotline facilities between Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMO). But in the context of China, the Chinese military has to identify a designated official to operate such a facility.

It was mooted by the 2013 Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) between India and China, but was not materialised so far.

The BDCA was aimed to establish peace along the LAC.

Chinese military experts said the hotline would build trust between the two militaries.

Military trust between China and India is crucial to bilateral relations and demands patience and sincerity from both sides, experts were quoted as saying by the daily.

“The informal summit in Wuhan is a good start to alleviating stress between the two countries, which is the basis for future communication and trust building,” Zhao Gancheng, director of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies’ Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies, told the daily.

“Military trust and military cooperation should be the direction that both sides make efforts to achieve, though it will take some time,” Zhao said.

The two militaries were expected to resume “hand-in-hand” annual exercises which were disrupted last year due to the Doklam standoff.

“It is also important to implement the agreement on border issues that have been recognised by both countries,” Zhao noted.

The armies of India and China yesterday held a Border Personnel Meeting in Chusul, Ladakh, during which both sides resolved to maintain peace and tranquillity along the LAC, besides agreeing to work on additional CBM.

The BPM was the first such meeting after the informal summit between Xi and Modi last week.


Xi-Modi summit broke ‘new ground’ for bilateral ties: China

Beijing, May 2:  The Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping broke “new ground” as they identified the guiding principles for bilateral ties, drew up a blueprint for cooperation and mapped out concrete measures to implement the consensus reached, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said today.

Modi met Xi last week in an unprecedented two-day ‘heart-to-heart’ summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan to “solidify” the India-China relationship after the Dokalam standoff last year.

Troops of India and China were locked in the 73-day standoff in Dokalam after the Indian side stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese Army in the disputed area.

During their summit, the two leaders held a candid exchange of views in a relaxing and friendly atmosphere on topics related to international relations, China-India relations and cooperation in various areas and reached important consensus, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in her first comments on the summit held on April 27 and 28.

The two leaders “identified the important principles guiding the development of China-India relations and chartering the course and drew up a blueprint for the comprehensive cooperation between the two sides,” Hua said.

“The two leaders have also mapped out concrete measures to implement such kind of consensus,” she said.

The meeting was oriented towards the future and enhance the friendship and mutual trust, creating a new model for exchanges between the two leaders, she said.

“It opened up new ground for India-China relations,” she added.

“China is willing to work with India to follow through on the important consensus reached between the two leaders, and takes this meeting as an opportunity to break new ground in the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and India,” she said.

Asked about reports that the two sides have agreed to establish hotline facilities between their militaries, Hua said the exchanges between the two leaders in Wuhan included how China and India can handle their differences.

The two leaders have reached some important consensus and charted the course to properly manage and handle such kind of differences, she said, without elaborating.

She said the two nations should put the border issue into a proper context to properly manage these issues and not to enlarge them.

The two sides should step up exchanges on relevant issues to properly resolve such kind of differences, she said adding that China is willing to maintain and enhance communication with India.

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