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Li: 'India is an important neighbor'

By ZHAO YANRONG | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-06 01:48

Li's meeting with defense minister boosts military, border ties

China and India both have the political will to properly resolve border issues through dialogue and consultation, and the cooperation between the two countries in maintaining peace, tranquility and stability in border areas can provide favorable conditions for the two countries' development, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.

Li made the remarks when meeting the visiting Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony in Beijing.

The expansion of military exchange and cooperation between China and India could play an active role in the development of the Sino-Indian strategic partnership, he added.

Li also said China and India are important partners and neighbors. The two countries' harmonious relationship and common development is a blessing for Asia, and conducive to world peace, stability and development.

China is willing to work with India to enhance strategic mutual trust, expand practical cooperation and improve ties to a higher level, he added.

Antony's trip is the first by an Indian defense minister in the past seven years.

He said Li's recent trip to India is historic and a milestone in bilateral relations, which has left a deep impression for Indian people.

"Leaders from India and China have reached an important consensus of developing bilateral relations, cooperation in various fields, and maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas. India is willing to make joint efforts with China to promote the comprehensive development of bilateral relations," Antony said.

Antony also met his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan, State Councilor and minister of National Defense.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, China and India will hold a joint anti-terrorism military exercise in the second half of this year, and there will be exchanges between the two countries' young military officers by the end of 2013.

"Both countries have paid much attention to the relationship of their defense authorities. The two sides are seriously carrying out the agreements reached by our leaders, to enhance mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation and to strengthen peace and stability in border areas," Hua said at a daily news conference.

Antony's trip is a great opportunity to enhance mutual understanding between the two countries' militaries, and more communication is desirable in the development of bilateral ties, Chinese experts said.

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