Chinese Army Chief, India Discuss Confidence-build


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Chinese army chief Liang Guanglie (left) with his
Indian counterpart J. J. Singh in New...

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Chinese army chief Liang Guanglie began his official visit to India aimed at increasing confidence building measures between the world's two largest militaries, an India army spokesman said.

he Indian military laid out the red carpet for Liang, who arrived in New Delhi Monday and began the official leg of his trip Tuesday in talks with his Indian counterpart, J.J. Singh, the spokesman said.

"The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere and were very fruitful," he said.

The two countries fought a brief but bitter border war in 1962 but have held a series of high-level talks in the last two years to reduce tensions, including agreements to open trade routes across their Himalayan frontier.

The People's Liberation Army chief, who is leading an 18-member delegation, also met Indian naval and air force commanders and is slated to meet Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday, the army spokesman said.

Defence ministry officials said the two sides decided to increase the frequency of meetings between commanders of the two armies along their disputed borders and discussed ways to tackle "accidental border-crossings by soldiers into each others territories".

"They also discussed measures to deal with air violations," an official said, adding the two sides also agreed on closer contact between military training facilities.

Sources said India was likely to invite Chinese defence observers to war games scheduled to be held in November.

General Liang is scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal town of Agra later Wednesday and, after a trip to the Mughal-built mausoleum, will inspect an Indian paratrooper unit before flying to the western city of Pune to meet military engineers.

Liang, who is also the member of China's powerful Central Military Commission, leaves for home May 28 after a visit to Mumbai, India's financial hub and a strategic naval base on the Arabian Sea, the spokesman said in New Delhi.

His trip comes a month after Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao travelled to India in a visit described by both sides as "historic".

During Wen's four-day visit the two Asian giants signed a slew of accords including one that sets out a roadmap for resolving an ongoing border dispute.