Home minister Rajnath Singh will travel to China on Wednesday -- the first trip by an Union home minister to the country after 2005 -- during which he will discuss methods of boosting security and curbing smuggling of arms to militants in the northeast.
Singh’s six-day visit comes in the backdrop of steady improvement of relations between the two countries while streamlining mechanisms to address the vexed border dispute.
“I am looking forward to my visit to China. Hope it would help in deepening of mutual understanding and trust. During my China visit, I intend to further strengthen the tradition of mutual learning and better understanding from each other,” he said in a statement.
Shivraj Patil was the last home minister who visited China in 2005.
During his visit, Singh -- the senior-most leader to visit China after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would spend three days in Beijing followed by a three-day stay in Shanghai.
Besides holding talks with his counterparts in China’s political dispensation, Singh is also expected to call on Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
Singh’s visit is an opportunity to consolidate efforts by both sides to build political trust, initiated during the visits of President Xi Jinping’s visit to India last year and Modi’s subsequent trip to China.
While the issues related to standoffs at the border between both troops were being addressed by the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC), Singh’s visit is expected to firm up security cooperation in various fronts.
China has pressed huge number of security forces to crackdown on al Qaeda-linked East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) militants in Xinjiang who had bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
India too faces the constant threat of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan across the Line of Control.
Apart from issues related to terrorism, Singh’s talks are expected to crystallise security cooperation between the two countries including more effective crackdown by China in limiting arms supplies to militant groups in northeastern states.
The lessons in combating terrorism by the forces of the two countries has formed an integral part of five rounds of the annual Sino-Indian joint military exercises.
The home minister’s visit closely follows a rare visit by China’s topmost military official to India.
Gen Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), visited India and Pakistan last week, also the first tour by China’s highest ranking military official to both the countries in a decade.