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Li: 'India is an important neighbor'

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

"Visiting China can help the Indian defense minister understand us better," said Sun Shihai, an expert on Indian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

According to Sun, the Indian military has lingering skepticism about China's strategy and Chinese attitudes toward the Sino-Indian border issue, so the trip can help boost Antony's confidence in China.

The two countries have signed agreements on border issues, on which the militaries can play a very important role, Sun said.

"The border issue will not be solved overnight, but more communication is important and strongly needed to build mutual trust," he added.

Since China and India both face terrorism challenges, the joint anti-terrorism military exercise can serve the countries' common interests, Sun said.

Ma Jun, a researcher at the Academy of Military Science of the People's Liberation Army, was on an exchange program to India for two years. He said the exchange and understanding between the two countries' young military officers is very important.

"We had training together with young Indian military officers every day. Gradually we had a much better mutual understanding and even made good friends.

"Therefore, enhancing the military exchange is crucial," Ma added.

He said Antony's trip is a positive sign for Sino-Indian relations.

Before the Indian defense minister's arrival, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also arrived in Beijing. Li held a welcoming ceremony for Sharif on Friday.

China has good relationships with both India and Pakistan, and China plays a constructive role in the regional security issue in South Asia. In the past two years, China worked hard to ease tensions between India and Pakistan, Ma said.

"China's development requires a stable environment with its neighbors. Building a good India-Pakistan relationship is in line with China's interests," he added.

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