Military trust between China and India is crucial to bilateral relations and demands patience and sincerity from both sides, experts said after the leaders of the two nations have reportedly agreed to set up a hotline between their respective military headquarters.
“The informal summit in Wuhan is a good start to alleviating stress between the two countries, which is the basis for future communication and trust building,” Zhao Gancheng, director of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies’ Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an informal meeting on Friday and Saturday in Wuhan, capital of Central China’s Hubei Province. They exchanged views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern and walked together along the shores of Wuhan’s East Lake, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The decision to issue “strategic guidance” to the militaries of the two nations is basically an order to their respective armed forces to defuse confrontations during patrols in accordance with existing protocols and mechanisms, Times of India reported, citing a senior Indian defense official.
According to the report, India and China are now looking to set up a hotline between the operations directorates of the two nations’ central military headquarters, which was first proposed in The Border Defense Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) and agreed to by Modi during his visit to China in 2015.
“Military trust and military cooperation should be the direction that both sides make efforts to achieve, though it will take some time,” Zhao said.
India and China will also revive their annual ‘Hand-in-Hand’ military exercise, Times of India reported. The 7th edition of the event was derailed last year due to the 73-day border standoff at Doklam.
India will also participate for the first time in the multi-nation military exercise conducted under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that will be held in September at the Ural Mountains in Russia, The Indian Express reported.
“It is also important to implement the agreement on border issues that have been recognized by both countries,” Zhao noted.