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Army chief begin talks in India, confidence measures expected
Updated: 2005-05-24 20:30

NEW DELHI- 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.

The 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," the spokesman 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.

"Some agreements are likely to be firmed up today," one defence ministry official said without elaborating. Sources said India was likely to invite Chinese defence observers to war games scheduled to be held in November.

The People's Liberation Army chief will also meet with Indian naval and airforce commanders and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee later Tuesday, the spokesman said.

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

He 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.

Liang's 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.

A formal ceasefire line has not been established, but the unsettled frontier has remained largely peaceful, thanks to agreements signed in 1993 and 1996.

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