Nirmala Sitharaman To Visit China In April In Bid To Stabilize Relations

Nirmala Sitharaman to visit China next month

India is looking at dates for a visit to China by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in a move seen as a major confidence-building measure, coming as it does after the 73-day-long tense military standoff between the Asian giants a year ago.

Speaking at the "International Conference on Military Ammunition: Make in India Opportunities and Challenges", Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, said there is a need of making Defence Public sector undertakings more dynamic.

"Yes, (the China visit) it is probably sometime in late April", Sitharaman told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here. The steps include a series of high-level visits.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also visit China in June this year to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting. The visit had followed one by Chinese general Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission to India in 2015.

The defence minister was responding to a question on the Congress' attack on the government over the aircraft deal, which the party claims has been done at much higher cost than another deal negotiated by the previous UPA government. Prior to Parrikar's visit, then Indian defence minister A.K. Antony had visited China in 2013.

Notwithstanding the disengagement of troops facing each other in Doklam, a trijunction near India's Sikkim, Bhutan and China, the belligerence had not been done away with entirely as charges and counter-charges between the two countries had been flying thick.



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