China’s military build-up figures in India-US talks

China’s military build-up figured Wednesday in the talks between Defence Minister A.K. Antony and visiting US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said its implications were among the issues discussed. Both sides also agreed on greater engagement with China on military matters.

"We did talk in more generic terms about the security of the Indian Ocean. There was discussion about China’s military modernisation programme, what it meant and the intentions for the military build up," Gates told reporters here after meeting Antony.        

"There is a desire to engage China militarily, to have more routine dialogue so that we can iron out any misunderstandings. Dialogue plays an important role in avoiding miscalculations. We feel that dialogue will be more productive," added Gates, who arrived in New Delhi Tuesday on a two-day visit.        

Last year China staged its largest army exercise. Close to 50,000 troops were deployed during the cross-country tactical mobilisation exercise that sent alarm bells ringing in India as it was being seen as Beijing’s efforts to improve its ability to deploy troops in Tibet whenever reinforcements are required.        

The impressive show of strength by China during its 60th National Day parade Oct 1, 2009 also underlined the need for India and the US to engage Beijing in terms of military cooperation.        

There have been several high level military exchanges between India and China in the last two years. This apart, the two armies conducted joint exercises in 2008 and plan to do so again in 2011.        

–Indo-Asian News Service        

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