Pranab to visit China to enhance military ties | india | Hindustan Times
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Pranab to visit China to enhance military ties

Mukherjee's visit to China will be a major event in 2006 which is being marked as India-China Friendship Year.

india Updated: Mar 05, 2006 17:29 IST

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee is set to visit China this month to enhance Sino-India military ties as part of efforts to boost mutual trust and add more content to the nascent strategic relations between the two countries.

Mukherjee's visit to China will be a major event in bilateral ties in 2006 which is being marked as the 'India-China Friendship Year,' official sources said.

Both sides are consulting on the itinerary and related matters.

Mukherjee is expected to meet China's top leadership as well as hold talks with his Chinese counterpart General Cao Gangchuan and others in the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The PLA has just announced a 14.7 per cent hike in its military budget for 2006 to touch over $35 billion.

His visit assumes more significance after India and the US finalised a historic civilian nuclear deal to which Beijing has reacted cautiously, hoping that the cooperation of "relevant countries ... Conforms to the regulations of the international non-proliferation regime and their own international obligations."

"As a signatory party to the treaty, China hopes that non-signatory countries can get on board as non-nuclear states at an early date, and contribute to a stronger international non-proliferation regime as well as the regional and international peace and stability," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.