A file photo of defence minister Manohar Parrikar. Photo: PTI
A file photo of defence minister Manohar Parrikar. Photo: PTI

Beijing: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday kicked off his first visit in Beijing by holding talks with Chinese counterpart General Chang Wanquan stating that India attaches highest priority to its relationship with China and is committed to further develop the ties.

“India attaches highest priority to relations with China and committed to further developing friendly and cooperative relations with China,” Parrikar told Chang in his opening remarks before the two delegations started the talks.

Parrikar was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the headquarters of the Chinese military here by a contingent of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. Welcoming Parrikar, Chang said, “Hope your visit improve strategic mutual trust between the two armed forces”.

After his meeting with Chang, Parrikar will hold talks with General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, (CMC). In Chinese military hierarchy General Fan is ranked higher, as CMC is overall head of the 2.3-million-strong PLA.

Parrikar is also due to call on Chinese premier Li Keqiang and visit China’s recently-integrated western command military headquarters in Chengdu which has jurisdiction over entire borders with India.

During Parrikar’s talks on Monday with top Chinese military officials, recurring incidents of incursions, implementation of an agreement to reduce tensions between border patrols and Sino-India strategic concerns are expected to figure.

While Indian officials said the talks were expected to review the whole gamut of bilateral ties, India’s concerns over aggressive patrolling by Chinese troops especially in the Ladakh sector remains high.

China denies any incursions, asserting its troops patrol areas within its territory along the 3,488km disputed border. The two militaries also have strategic concerns over each other’s military tie-ups with other countries.

Ahead of Parrikar’s visit, China hinted that it may take up the recent decision by India to open up military bases to the US for logistics and efforts to conclude a pact to share aircraft sharing technologies.