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Pranab concludes successful visit to China

Mukherjee said his visit has given a further momentum to the process of diversifying Sino-Indian relations.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 18:56 IST
Anil K Joseph (PTI)
Anil K Joseph (PTI)

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday concluded his "highly successful" maiden visit to China, which he said gave the much-required boost to mutual trust between the militaries of the two Asian giants.

Mukherjee, who spoke at a banquet hosted in his honour by the Political Commissar of Shanghai Garrison, Major General Dai Changyou in Shanghai on Thursday night, said his visit has given a further momentum to the process of building trust and understanding and diversifying Sino-Indian relations across a wide range of areas.

He said the visit has also helped in translating the thoughts of the top political leadership who have prioritised the areas of cooperation between the two countries.

"India-China partnership is an important determinant for regional and global peace and development," the defence minister said.

Referring to the first-ever MoU on defence cooperation with China which he signed earlier in Beijing on May 29 along with his Chinese counterpart, General Cao Gangchuan, Mukherjee said it will provide the necessary framework for cooperation between the militaries of the two nations.

Signing the defence MoU with China was befitting as the two nations were celebrating 2006 as 'India-China Friendship Year,' he said.

He was confident that there would be more cooperation among all the three services in the coming years. The MoU envisages joint military exercises, training and cooperation.

Immediately after his arrival in Shanghai from Lanzhou yesterday, Mukherjee drove down to the Shanghai Naval Base where he was taken on a guided tour on a Chinese missile frigate which was specially recalled from the high seas for the Defence Minister.

The frigate has a displacement capacity of 2066 tonnes and a maximum speed of 27 nautical miles per hour.

It is capable of air defence and anti-submarine warfare, Chinese Navy officials told Mukherjee.

Mukherjee on Thursday visited the strategicallyimportant Lanzhou Military Region of China in northwest China's Gansu Province.

He was warmly welcomed by the Commander Lanzhou Military Region, General Li Qianyuan and other senior officials.

The Indian delegation was given a detailed briefing on the role and functions of the Lanzhou Military Area Command.

The Lanzhou Military Region controls the largest physical area compared to other military regions and borders countries including India, PoK and Mongolia.

Lanzhou has China's key nuclear research and missile testing facilities in West China.

During his stay in Beijing, Mukherjee also met with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and discussed the pending boundary dispute and efforts to resolve it.

He also had a very useful meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing and discussed bilateral ties and regional and international issues of common interest.

The engagements in Shanghai was Mukherjee's last official engagement in China before his departure this morning to Singapore to attend the Shangri-La dialogue.

First Published: Jun 03, 2006 18:56 IST