Hours after meeting Chinese premier Li Kiqiang over lunch Monday,Defence Minister A K Antony reviewed progress of the construction of strategic roads along the India-China border.
Antony met Border Roads Organisation and defence ministry officials for a regular review of strategic border works. Antony had announced earlier this month that infrastructure development along the border would not be affected by the stand-off with China over the incursion into Ladakh.
Now,with New Delhi and Beijing determined to move on from the border stand-off and shore up bilateral cooperation,Antony is set to lead a delegation to the neighbouring country in a few weeks and discuss increasing exchanges between the armed forces of the two nations.
The military exchanges,in fact,found a mention in the joint statement released after discussions with the Chinese premier. The two sides noted that enhanced interaction in the military field was conducive to building trust and confidence. Both sides agreed to hold the next round of joint training exercises later this year, the statement read.
Sources said the next round of joint army exercises would be held in the next winter though the date is yet to be decided. The exercises,to be held after three years,would be held in China.
The two nations also intend to increase cooperation in maritime security and oceanic scientific research despite Chinas concerns about Indian presence in the waters off Vietnam. Beijing and New Delhi have also identified outstanding non-traditional security threats and cooperation in naval escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia as areas of cooperation.