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Antony in Beijing; China warns India against 'new trouble'
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BEIJING, July 4(Agencies): Defence minister AK Antony arrived here on Thursday on a four-day visit for high-level talks with Chinese leadership on new confidence building measures to maintain peace at the disputed borders in the backdrop of incursion of PLA troops in the Ladakh region.

Accompanied by a high power defence delegation, Antony arrived in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai by an Air India flight. He later flew to Beijing by a special flight arranged by the Chinese government.

Antony, the first defence minister to visit China in seven years, will formally hold talks with his Chinese counterpart General Chang Wanquan here on Friday.

He is expected to call on Premier Li Keqiang besides visiting a military installation and command centre.

It is not yet clear whether he could meet President Xi Jinping, who is the over all commander of the Chinese military by virtue of being the Chairman of the Military Commission, which controls the world's largest army of 2.3 million.

Antony's visit comes days after the 16th round of border talks between national security advisor Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi here during which the two sides had a threadbare discussion on mutual concerns, especially the incursion of China's People's Liberation Army troops into the Depsang Valley on April 15.

Border incursion, the finalization of the border defence coordination agreement (BDCA), a new mechanism suggested by China last year for improving security at the borders, pending the final settlement of the territorial dispute, top Antony's agenda for talks here.

The BDCA was expected to set up mechanisms which will provide for consultations for communication between both side to improve management at the border.

Officials said BDCA would come up for discussions during Antony's talks but not expected to be signed.

The BDCA which has several facets has been discussed extensively between the two sides, including during the June 28-29 border talks between the two special representatives.

Besides BDCA, the two sides are expected to finalize the dates to resume bilateral military exercises which would focus on anti-terrorism drills.

PLA general warns India against provocation:

Hours before the arrival of defence minister AK Antony here for high-level talks, a hawkish Chinese General today warned India against provoking "new trouble" by increasing its military deployment at the border.

"There is no denying that there are tensions and problems between China and India particularly at the border areas," Major General Luo Yuan, executive vice-president and secretary general of China Strategy Culture Promotion Association, said.

"There is still problem of 90,000sqkm of territory still occupied by the Indian side. These are the problems left over from history and we should look at it with cool head," he said while talking to foreign correspondents here.

He was replying to a question about People's Liberation Army's (PLA) views on India-China relations in the backdrop of Antony's visit starting from Thursday.

"The Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase the military deployment at the border areas and start new trouble," General Luo, known for his hawkish and extreme views on China's strategic and military relations with its neighbours and the US, said.

India is the only country in the world which says it is developing military power due to China's threat, he said adding that "India should be cautious about what it says and what it does".

Luo's 90,000 sq km remark referred to China's claim to Arunachal Pradesh which it calls as Southern Tibet.

India asserts that the border dispute covered 4,000km along line actual control (LAC), while China states that the dispute was confined to 2,000km that is Arunachal Pradesh.

The two sides held their last boundary talks on June 28.

Antony is the first Indian defence minister in seven years to visit China.

On Anotony's meeting with his Chinese counterpart on Friday, the defence ministry in a statement in Delhi said, "Both ministers are expected to discuss a number of issues, including those related to maintenance of peace and tranquillity on the border ... and matters relating to regional and global security."

Antony is expected to call on Premier Li Keqiang besides visiting a military unit and a command centre during the three-day visit, official sources told reporters here.

The Chinese general also attacked the US, saying that it is trying to take advantage of the military tensions in the South China Sea and termed the Philippines as the trouble maker for China by provoking Beijing with Washington's help.

A serving General, Luo was known in China for his incisive comments over blog and this was first time he was invited to address the foreign media here by the state-run All China Journalists Association.

Luo, however, played down the Chinese incursion into Depsang valley in April, saying that "This issue is triggered by media and media sometime overstate the problem.

"We hope both sides keep patience and cool mind to solve this problem."

The incursion by the PLA troops who also pitched their tents figured in the just concluded talks between national security advisor Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi here.

The two sides are now discussing the BDCA to avert incidents of border incursions in future.

It was expected to figure in Antony's talks. In his comments, General Luo referred to the visits of Premier Li to India recently as well as Antony's visit.

He said "generally speaking the whole situation is still under control particularly after the visit of Li to India.

The political relationship has been enhanced. Now your defence minister is visiting here."

"I believe the situation generally speaking is within control and it is up to India not to start some new trouble," he said.

"In spite of all these differences we do have a lot in common. As the two biggest developing countries in the world China and India have a lot of common interests," he said.

"So we should work actively to implement the outcomes of Premier Li's visit and work to enhance our cooperation," he said pointing that both countries initiated the idea of five principles of peaceful co-existence.

"Therefore we should effectively implement these principles," he said.

He also defended PLA's close relationship with Pakistan's military.

"There is also no denying that China and Pakistan enjoy traditional friendship and we have with Pakistan the all weather comprehensive strategic partnership," he said.

"We also have strategic partnership with India and we do hope that India and Pakistan will live together and coexist in peace just like what the five principles of coexistence say and so I hope India and Pakistan will solve their differences and problems through peaceful means," he said.


News Updated at : Friday, July 5, 2013
 
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