Chinese Defence Minister holds important meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi

Chinese Defence Minister holds important meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi

NEW DELHI - India and China are mature nations and the neighbours know how to deal with differences before they devolve into disputes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a Chinese delegation led by their Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe on Tuesday, government sources said.

Fenghe called upon PM Modi after he arrived in Delhi for a four-day India visit that will include bilateral talks with his counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday.

"Terming India-China relations as a factor of stability in the world, the Prime Minister said that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is indicative of the sensitivity and maturity with which India and China handle their differences, not allowing them to become disputes," sources from Ministry of External Affairs said giving details of the interaction.

The PM also appreciated the increased momentum of high-level contacts between India and China in all spheres, including defence and military exchanges, they added. Modi also recalled his recent meetings that have paved the way for better ties after the 73-day standoff at Doklam last year.

The prolonged face-off was triggered after Indian troops stopped Chinese road construction in Doklam – a region under dispute between China and Bhutan. It was felt that road connectivity would give China direct access to the Siliguri corridor, giving them strategic advantage and it had to be stopped since it violated the status quo agreed upon by the three countries. The confrontation finally ended with diplomatic intervention.

Better communication between the militaries including a hotline facility between military headquarters is high of both countries.

This will be the second meeting between the defence ministers this year. The earlier one had taken place in Beijing in April when Sitharaman visited China to take part in the defence ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).