scorecardIndia and China are taking their military ties to the next level
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India and China are taking their military ties to the next level

India and China are taking their military ties to the next level
DefenseDefense2 min read

  • India’s defence ministry announced yesterday that the Indian and Chinese armies would increase engagement through joint military exercises and the initiation of a “strategic hotline”.
  • The proactive approach towards cooperation by both sides follows an April visit to China by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • While India has been suspicious of China’s growing closeness with its neighbours, it is also moving to cement ties with the country as a way to ensure peace and stability along its borders.
On August 23rd, India’s Ministry of Defence announced that the Indian and Chinese armies would increase engagement through joint military exercises and the initiation of a “strategic hotline”. The move came during a four-day visit to India by Wei Fengh, the state councillor and defence minister of China and key officials in the People’s Liberation Army of China.

The countries are drafting a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard, with the end goal of ending all skirmishes along the border. Any future skirmishes are expected to be solved and mediated by lower-ranking officials, preventing any escalation.

There will also be several communication channels opened up between senior military officials on both sides, such as the Eastern and Northern Commander of the Indian Army and the head of the Chinese Army’s Western Theatre Command, a military unit tasked with border protection.

Last month. China and India commenced joint military exercises again with the inauguration of the “Hand-to-Hand” meeting in Pune, a programme aimed at helping each army understand the other’s operating procedures.

The proactive approach towards cooperation by both sides follows an April visit to China by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The summit was meant as a reconciliations of sorts after a heated military standoff in Bhutan’s Doklam region last year that lasted for 73 days. The standoff was a result of a border dispute in the region.

The two countries share a 3500-kilometre border, a significant portion of which has not been formally delineated. India carries out a number of development programs along the border related to water provision and electricity supply and wants to ensure the continuity of these programs.

While India has been suspicious of China’s growing closeness with its neighbours - Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - it is also moving to cement ties with China as a way to ensure peace and stability along its borders.

The new MoU will replace a previous one that was signed in 2006 for defence cooperation.

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