India, China in talks to set up direct hotline between defence ministries

India, China in talks to set up direct hotline between defence ministries

Zeeshan Sheikh,
India’s defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman welcomes her Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe during a Guard of Honour ceremony at South Block, in New Delhi.

India and China are in talks to set up a direct hotline between the defence ministries of both the countries, said a Chinese official on Thursday. “The two sides conducted further in-depth discussions on important conclusions reached between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi. Deepening military security exchanges and cooperation, and strengthening the construction of mutual trust mechanism in the defense field, including establishing a mechanism for mutual visits by defense ministers, and establishing a secret telephone number for the Ministries of Defense,” Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Wu Qian said during the monthly press conference of the Chinese Ministry of Defense.

Qian was responding to a question raised about how China viewed the achievements of Chinese defence minister General Wei Fenghe’s visit to India last week. He said that there had been talks on ensuring military-level exchanges and establishing the border defense hotline of the adjacent military regions. He also said that China had also invited Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to visit the country.

China and India are important countries in the Asian region and shoulder important responsibilities in maintaining regional peace and stability. When the dragon and the elephant dance together, it is favourable to the two sides and Asian prosperity. When the two fight, it is unfavourable to them but others benefit,” Qian said.

The hotline between the two militaries is seen as an important confidence-building measure which can be used to avert tensions.

“We are willing to work together with India to actively implement the consensus of the two heads of state, strengthen communication and coordination, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, properly manage differences and promote the healthy and stable development of the relations between the two militaries,” Qian said.