India, China agree to deepen defence cooperation to avoid Doklam-like standoffs

India and China on August 23, 2018 decided to work towards a new bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence Exchanges and Cooperation to replace the MoU signed in 2006. The decision was taken during a meeting between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Chinese counterpart, General Wei Fenghe.

A 24-member delegation of the Chinese Defence Ministry led by State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe is on a four-day visit to India. The visit comes exactly a year after the 73-day military stand-off at Doklam.

Key Highlights:-

1. Both the two sides primarily focused on implementing decisions taken at the Wuhan Summit in April 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping which included enhancing strategic communication between the two armies.
2. The two sides also decided on early operationalisation of the proposed hotline between the two armies as part of the confidence-building measures.
3. They agreed to increase interactions between their military at multiple levels to avoid Doklam-like standoffs along the disputed border.
4. The issue of restarting ‘Hand in Hand’ anti-terrorist exercise also came up during the meeting. The exercise is held every year alternately in China and India, however, it could not be held in 2017 in China due to Doklam tension.
5. The two countries are also working on setting up additional Border Meeting Points (BPM) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). There are five BPM points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Bum La and Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh, Daulat Beg Oldi and Chushul in Ladakh, and Nathu La in Sikkim.
6. The decisions, taken during the meeting, were aimed at building mutual trust between the two armies guarding the 3500 km Sino-India border.

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