Army Chief Bikram Singh
Army Chief Bikram Singh’s visit to China was on Thursday hailed by the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) top officials as “a positive signal,” taking place weeks after the election of a new government in Delhi.
General Singh on Thursday met the seniormost ranking PLA officer, General Fan Changlong, who is one of two Vice Chairmen on the Central Military Commission headed by President Xi Jinping.
Hailing the visit as “a positive signal from India to interact with China’s political and military leaders,” the official Xinhua news agency quoted General Fan as saying the two militaries should “take the occasion as an opportunity to advance military-to-military ties.”
He called on both countries to “strengthen strategic mutual trust, practical cooperation and properly manage differences.”
“Our common interests far outweigh our differences,” he said. “Both countries have sufficient wisdom and capability to deal with historical problems.”
General Singh also met his effective counterpart, General Fang Fenghui, Chief of General Staff of the PLA. He called on both countries to “increase trust” and “reduce suspicion.”
On the agenda for General Singh’s visit is reviewing the implementation of last year’s Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, aimed at expanding communication along the border and formalising patrolling rules, and firming up plans for defence exercises set to take place in India later this year.
General Singh will address the PLA’s National Defence University on Friday, before travelling to Shanghai to visit a PLA naval base.