Sounding upbeat over the resumption of defence exchanges with India, China on Thursday said it was "vigorously committed" to developing military ties with its "important neighbour" and was ready to resolve the visa row through friendly consultation.
Replying to a question on the resumption of defence exchanges agreed upon at yesterday's meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese president Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lie told a media briefing that China always valued military ties with India.
"India is an important neighbour of China. China is vigorously committed to developing military to military relations with India," Hong said.
After a considerable pause, India is set to restore full defence cooperation with China, with a high-level Indian military delegation expected to visit this country in June.
The decision to send a military delegation to China marks an end to the freeze on high-level defence exchanges by India after the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal was denied a proper visa in July last year for travel to Beijing because he served in Jammu and Kashmir.
"China always values our military exchanges with India and believes the two sides could proceed from the overall interest of bilateral relations, follow the principal of seeking a common ground while solving differences to promote sound and stable development of military relations," the spokesman said.
The Indian decision comes amid apparent moves by China to reverse its two-year policy of giving stapled visas to people hailing from Jammu and Kashmir.
To a question on whether China has ended the policy of issuing stapled visas to Kashmiri residents in India, Hong said: "I would like to point out that for issues relating to people to people exchanges in our relations, we are ready to properly solve this issue through friendly consultation".