Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Antony’s visit to China: Visit, visit and visit; talk, talk and talk

Excerpts from Joint Statement issued at the end of talks with Chinese leaders by Defence Minister AK Antony in Beijing.

1. Ministers emphasized...enhancing mutual trust and understanding between two militaries.
2. ...agreed on an early conclusion of negotiations for the Border Defence Cooperation...
3. ...welcomed...counter-terrorism bilateral joint exercise between their armies in China in 2013.

They also agreed on,

a. Senior military commanders...will exchange visits...annual schedule.
b. Visits of border troop delegations...enhanced to promote dialogue and strengthen trust and cooperation.
c. Border Personnel Meetings(BPM)...greater frequency and additional locations.
d. Navies...increase ship visits, consider...joint maritime search and rescue exercises and cooperate in counter-piracy operations.
e. Air Forces...high level visits... expand their functional exchanges...focus on...flight safety, aviation medicine and training.
f. Military training institutions...exchanges at the faculty and student levels.
g. ...greater awareness and understanding...young officers...visits and exchanges...annually.
h. ...Antony invited his Chinese counterpart, Gen Chang Wanquan, to visit India in 2014...Chinese Defence Minister accepted the invitation.

Two words which find frequent mention in the statement are - visit and talk. Lot more visits and lot more talks. Will this lead to something? I am not sure. If we consider the fate of long running, never ending border negotiations as an indicator, then new visit and talk system will also end up as futile as the earlier ones were (except in creating more airline bills). Eventually the problem will effectively transfer to the shoulder of future generations.



1. Ministry of Defence, GOI.

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